Danielle Citron had a really interesting post today about how some have attempted to use privacy protections to shield them from exposure of bigotry:
As New York Times v. Sullivan made clear, defamation has a bigoted past. There, Montgomery, Alabama’s police commissioner brought a defamation suit against The New York Times after it published an advertisement, “Heed Their Rising Voices,” which suggested law enforcement’s interference with civil rights protests. Sullivan based his defamation suit on this premise: accusations of racism hurt my reputation in Montgomery, Alabama. At the time, it was a truly laughable proposition given the racial hatred so prevalent in the white community there. No matter, Sullivan and others after him tried to use the law of defamation to silence mostly Northern papers writing about Southern bigotry and officially sanctioned violence against civil rights leaders and others.
In writing a piece entitled Mainstreaming the Tort of Privacy (forthcoming Cal. L. Rev.), I stumbled across Afro-American Publishing v. Jaffe, 366 F.2d 649 (D.C. Cir. 1966), a case that told a Sullivan-esque story but with a privacy twist.
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