Can sex video publishers be charged with legal damages?


Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2Revenge porn is nothing new. It’s tacky, it’s nasty, and it’s pretty damn cruel.  What could be new is the legal situation – CAN YOU SUE if someone publishes a sex video of you? A lot of people would say that you should be able to. The good news for the damaged is that there are some legal precedents.

Sex tapes can be brutal, and bizarre in many ways. Hulk Hogan’s famous Gawker sex tape was as weird as it gets. He sued and destroyed Gawker, no loss to the world, for what was basically sex tape publishing.

The major deal here is the publishing angle. Doing a private sex tape is your business. Publishing someone else’s sex tape isn’t your business. It’s a clear privacy violation. In some cases, it could even be a criminal act.

The reason for this blog is another wrestler’s sex tape train wreck. Paige is a WWE icon, and a true-DNA wrestler. It’s literally in her blood, and apparently her mother was wrestling with Paige while she was pregnant. You can’t get a lot more authentic than that.


After a long haul to the top at a young age, Paige got hit with the full force of cyber bullying, the public embarrassment, and the massive shock of an unexpected global publicity debacle. Few people can get up at all after something like that, but she’s fighting on.

Publication of this sex tape was a gratuitous, bloody unkind, thing to do. This was a tape of Paige pre-fame, and let’s face it, people tape sex every day without it ruining their lives and threatening their career and sanity.

Suddenly, thanks to antisocial media, it was a global news event. Most media organizations don’t bother with tacky sex videos, even if it is someone famous. They don’t need sleaze. Social media, however, isn’t like that. It’s a black hole of tat, and it’s big business for these sites. There’s a lot of money in this crap.

I don’t care how you cut it – This IS malicious exploitation of the victims. It’s money for smut. A person who’d get a fortune for a nude photo shoot gets hell for a video, and somebody else profits?  Come off it.

This is another side to the legal angles. Why should any publisher benefit from a nasty, quite possibly illegal, use of a sex tape? Hogan’s case made a very important point – It’s NOT legally OK to publish these things, in so many ways.

So – The legal issues relate to the potential for damage. Hulk Hogan famously got removed from the WWE roster for a remark on an old tape that nobody in the business took seriously. Paige wasn’t even born when Hogan hit the big time, but she’s a major name. The potential for career damage couldn’t possibly have been missed when her sex video was published.

Publishers are supposed to know better. They do. Even one word, or one allegation, which might be defamatory or do high dollar value career damage, is treated like a live IED – But a sex video, which is no major asset to any high profile female, isn’t?

WRONG. It is. There’s no getting away from that very basic fact. There should be a prima facie legal status for these nasty little videos, based on that fact.

Nor should the horrendous effect on the victims be ignored. Check out this interview by the very professional Lillian Garcia and see how grim this was for Paige.  Talk about “mental anguish”; this kid did go through hell. Think there might be some damages in any normal legal case? Damn straight.


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