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.


Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books

A few comments on watching “fake” wrestling on YouTube


Wasp2For many years, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching wrestling. On YouTube, however, the comments are all about “fake” wrestling. Wanna make a comparison?


Gadzooks, already.

“Fake” wrestling?

Let’s explore this theory a bit. There’s a lot to be said about it, all bad:

  • As everyone knows, all other media, including the news, is 100% legit.
  • All Hollywood movies are performed under oath for authenticity. Star Wars is actually a documentary, made in real time. (Thank you, Carrie Fisher, but otherwise…)
  • All TV shows are performed on the same basis. Everything is real.
  • All you need to do to get a straight, unbiased version of the news is to watch FOX or listen to any politician. No fakery there.
  • No pro athletes and teams make money out of lousy, boring, decade-long performances.
  • People do not actually fake anything in real life – Everyone is 100% legit, and nobody ever puts on an act.

How naive can you get? That naive.

Then there’s the fight fan version:

  • MMA and UFC are “real fighting” – Maybe so, maybe not, but check out the difference between the real champs and the fist-food they usually fight.
  • How many of these people actually have long careers? Not many if any, and they tend to get pretty lame and sad at the end.
  • How many of the thousands of fighters do you actually remember? Just about anyone can reel off a long list of wrestlers, but not these guys.
  • How many put in a good performance? You get 1-2 good fights per week, and more than a few walkovers.
  • Brock Lesnar, a pro wrestler extraordinaire, went over to UFC and won the title fair and square. Sufficient on that subject.
  • Boxing is famous for its “controversial” super-short matches at great expense to attendees and the betting fraternity.
  • Do pro fighters of any kind ever throw fights? Guess.
  • UFC and MMA are also media. They’re products, not morals in rings. Or do you just naturally assume all media other than pro wrestling is real?
  • Compare the original ECW with anything called “fighting”. Which is better? Why? ECW included things like broken necks, etc., but that’s hardly as exciting as a spot of blood on some fighting furball today, is it? Mick Foley’s missing ear is pretty real, too, and so on.
  • People are trained to take falls in wrestling… And pro fighters aren’t? Every type of fighting teaches falls. The hospitals are full of fully trained people who took falls and didn’t get up afterwards.

The entertainment factor in wrestling

Let’s clarify something here – “Entertainment” is not supposed to be a synonym for “Super-Crap”. Wrestling was doing “reality”, and doing it better, long before the TV industry, in so many ways. Wrestling is also pro standard entertainment. It’s fun, it’s basically nuts, and it’s well done. It’s also pretty creative at the slightest excuse.

It’s interesting to watch, just about all the time. Also interesting to me is that the more creative it gets, the better it gets. The McMahon family, in particular, have got themselves in some pretty damn strange situations for no better reason than I can see than they love doing it.

The people have a lot to do with that. One of the things that first fascinated me was that I’d never seen athletes with actual personalities before, real or imaginary. The wrestlers are actually very articulate, which is a lot more than can be said for the mumbling messes of “real fighting” media.

Real wrestling

To perform in a ring as a wrestler, you need something other codes don’t have – The trust of the other wrestlers. A running bulldog or body slam can easily put you in a neck brace for the rest of your life, particularly if the person delivering is a big guy. I saw a guy on a bus one day whose entire face was one side 100% black bruise. Reason? A single elbow shot. Getting thrown out of a ring can turn you in to human origami.

The sheer number of possible injuries with more complex moves is no minor calculation. For people over 200 lb, mass + velocity = very real risks… And that’s just when things are being done properly. When things go wrong, they can turn very nasty in medical terms. If you fall off when you’re standing on a chair, you can do real damage. If someone happens to throw you off a ladder, your chances are drastically increased.

This is the obvious, in fact. Don’t try this at home because the odds are very good you’ll kill yourself. No other form of pro sport has to broadcast that message. You don’t hear that message on football, MMA, or UFC, and by rights, you should.

Wrestling culture

It took me a while to find out that the offstage stuff is just as crazy, or more so, than the stuff on the screen. There are egos, jokes, tantrums, bitchiness, motormouth writers blabbing about next week’s show, and more. Some of it is truly funny, and some of it makes you wonder how these people manage to work together at all. My guess is that you’d have to know how to keep your cool, and be good at it, to make a career as a wrestler.

For example:

  • Vader on the subject of someone getting stabbed by another wrestler, said that he put his finger in the stab wound to stop the bleeding while they got help. Fake, eh? Consider why a situation like that might occur. How do you fake a stab wound, and put your finger in it?
  • Tommy Dreamer on the subject of the Sandman dying – Dreamer said that Rhyno, the ECW champion and prime mover with legs, burst in and told him, “Sandman died, but he’s OK now”. The Sandman, ECW Mr Hardcore, had technically died, but been revived – And went on to wrestle afterwards that same day. True story, told by a guy who had it dropped on him while he was in charge of things.
  • Sid Justice and his snapped leg – He’s coming off the top rope, and his left leg suddenly points itself at right angles to the rest of itself. I’d never even heard of something like that happening before. On video, it’s a pretty sickening sight. Fake? Nope.
  • Tazz of ECW/WWE, on the subject of his broken neck, said that he walked to the hospital and was told that he couldn’t possibly have walked to the hospital with a broken neck. Broken necks are pretty hard to fake to people with X ray machines.
  • When I was a kid growing up, the original Chief Little Wolf came to Melbourne. A couple of bozos from the local Saturday night fights society started hassling him. He nearly killed them. The locals appreciated his contribution to better Saturday nights out.

Since then I’ve watched whole generations come and go, from Killer Kowalski to Roman Reigns, and I’ll keep watching. It never gets dull. Real fans love it, and let’s face it, there’s nothing else like it.

So, some YouTube videos:

Ever see an entire crowd sing along at the top of their voices with Metallica? Enter the Sandman.

The famous Hell in a Cell match between Foley and the Undertaker – At the start of the video, a kid yells out, “Don’t fall!”.

Picture quality varies, use HD.