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Model Speaks Out On “Anti-Gay” Lawsuit


Ben Massing, the model suing gay rag Genre, released the following statement this morning:

Last week I filed a lawsuit in New York based on the unauthorized use, distribution, and publication of my image. One of the photographs was cropped and altered to make me look nude and included my contact information.

Numerous media outlets focused on the fact that the images appear in a publication geared toward the gay community. Based upon these reports, some have mischaracterized me as homophobic, which could not be further from the truth.

The real issue is that I never signed a release or gave permission to use or alter my pictures for adult-themed media. No matter what community the publication attracts, the use of my image in a sexually explicit way without my permission violated my rights.

It seems to us Massing should center his lawsuit around the publication of his personal information. Aside from copyright issues, the image matter becomes a bit hazy: someone who poses in their undies should expect to be objectified – especially when said person looks so good!

By:           Andrew Belonksy
On:           Sep 30, 2008
Tagged: , , , ,

  • 46 Comments
    • EdWoody
      EdWoody

      Well, I suppose that’s fair enough then. Still, he should have said so earlier and saved himself a lot of grief.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 11:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      all models have to make money is their image. If somebody used it without paying for it it is a simple thing, you sue them. The same as if you were a car salesman and somebody stole your car.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 11:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gayinsf
      gayinsf

      …so then why the lawsuit?

      Sep 30, 2008 at 11:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dan
      Dan

      Sounds like someone is trying to save his career… remember, no press is bad press. It smells of a stunt to get his name out in the press. And guess what, it worked.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 11:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dvlaries
      dvlaries

      Just when it seemed no topic could get boring faster than Sarah Palin…

      Sep 30, 2008 at 11:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • blake
      blake

      Look, everyone has a right to control his image. If he didn’t sign a release, he has a right to sue. The right to control one’s image is important.

      What if his image had been used to sell homophobic products without his permission?

      Sep 30, 2008 at 11:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BillyBob Thornton
      BillyBob Thornton

      I believe him, but I do think it could have been handled better by his legal representation. That’s where the focus needs to be. They didn’t clarify it in a press release.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 11:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jack Scribe
      Jack Scribe

      His poses – like other young male models – don’t leave much to your imagination. And once a picture is posted on the Internet, all control is lost. However, if Genre used the picture and listed specific contact info, then let the courts decide.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 11:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John
      John

      Sounds to me like he’s backpedaling, because it finally sunk in that pissing off the gays will not help your male model career. I recall his myspace page lists his career as “Winning”.

      Maybe Ben has a future in politics.

      I don’t think the male model thing will last past his early mid 20s. He has the kind of looks that fade fast, and who can stay that lean for long.

      His lawyer probably also realized this is not 1890 and that just putting his picture in a gay-themed publication is not the basis for a libel suit.

      Any follow-up on Josh Peters?

      Sep 30, 2008 at 11:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alan down in Florida
      Alan down in Florida

      “One of the photographs was cropped and altered to make me look nude”

      So hiding the bulgeless crotch was a bad thing?

      Sep 30, 2008 at 12:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Nice Body
      Nice Body

      I think its great that there seem to be so many reasons to keep posting his semi-nude on this gay-themed blog. The public has a right to know.

      I hope he doesn’t sue Queerty.com

      Sep 30, 2008 at 12:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Trenton
      Trenton

      I’m glad I held my tongue, because it sounds like he does have a legitimate complaint, and I know first-hand (not from experience, but others who worked with me) that you can blacklist yourself from more conservative publications by posing in suggestive pubs. He may have a claim to more than just the personal contact info (which is just F***ED UP). He may truly be entitled to some sort of compensation if he can prove that he was compromised professionally by the unsanctioned pubs. However, the effort and cost of that is way beyond what it would take and what he would earn from the work he lost, I’m sure. So it still seems overly litigious and, ultimately, either about pride or greed.

      But we won’t need to pass judgment…the judge will.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 12:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SugaBear
      SugaBear

      Ok, as someone who worked in promotions and public relations with ties to gay print media, he is lying when he says that he never signed a model release. Window Media, the parent company of GENRE Magazine wouldn’t a) be stupid to publish a fashion editorial with out a model release and b0 there are so many safegaurds in check that it can’t be done. It is the Art Directors job to secure any paperwork relating to the layout purchased; including the photograpghers waiver as well as any and all model releases. Secondly the Editor in cheif working with the magazines legal department would be working overtime to secure that the paperwork would be in place.

      The thing is her says quote “The real issue is that I never signed a release or gave permission to use or alter my pictures for adult-themed media.”

      I think he will have a hard time proving in a court of law that GENRE is an “adult themed” publication, like say MEN Magazine or Freshmen, where there a series of separate legal requirements that go with US Code: Title 18 USC 2257 (which is Records required for all depictions of actual sexually explicit conduct).
      The photographer may have shot the job on ‘spec’ for GENRE hoping that they would buy it, and they did, and he is not too happy about it. Too bad the pictures look great.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 12:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ray
      Ray

      either way, i’ve lost interest in the whole thing

      Sep 30, 2008 at 1:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jason
      Jason

      Seriously, guys, this is really shitty. We rant on about this, but have no context in which to judge the poor boy. (Queerty didn’t even post the Genre pages). Why do we just assume it’s homophobic? (Queerty, you need to be more responsible with your forum). If Genre took his half-naked picture and tried to sell anal beads or dildos with it, would you have the same response?

      As to posting his personal info–that is way wrong. I like men, but I’d be livid if they did that without my permission. I’m sure most of you would be, too.

      Let’s cut the kid some slack. He’s trying to jumpstart a career. His image is what he’s got, and he should be able to control it. We can give him the benefit of the doubt. It’s not like he’s a Republican! ;)

      Sep 30, 2008 at 1:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John
      John

      I think he might be a Republican.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 1:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • michael
      michael

      It sounds like he did sign a model release and I don’t think a magazine would have used his photo without it. Sounds like he has to prove that Genre is a porn rag to win his case. As far as he being black listed from conservative magazines, which ones?
      “Jesus loves you Quarterly”? How many people in the future, that read a more conservative magazines would ever know that he was in Genre anyway? This just stinks of a publicity stunt or a way of squeezing some cash out of somebody. And if he is so serious about his modeling/acting career, then why isn’t he majoring in Drama or something that applies to his career aspirations? Tyson Beckford once said that he would have done just about anything when he first started modeling. And Tyson is much more interesting looking than this dime a dozen type ever will be.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 2:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mike
      mike

      Guess he did watch SEX IN THE CITY

      Sep 30, 2008 at 2:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Distingué Traces
      Distingué Traces

      I don’t know much about the magazine industry, but if “everybody always signs a standard release for any use of the image, ever” is really standard procedure, then I think maybe standard procedure is not such a good thing.

      Just as with credit cards, the fact that you signed an agreement agreeing to certain terms does not necessarily mean a court won’t find that the agreement you signed wasn’t unreasonable or misleading or predatory.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 2:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JJ
      JJ

      I hope you continue to follow this story as the lawsuit unfolds — let’s hope its not dismissed for failure to state a cause of action or something like that.

      I also hope you’ll post this picture on each new blog entry so we can recall about whom we are reading. I can hardly remember what Josh Peters looks like, but his name keeps coming up.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 3:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jason
      Jason

      I read in another article that he says he didn’t sign anything! He had an oral understanding with the photographer that the pics would be used to give the photographer experience and give the model some shots for his portfolio. As to the magazine, come on. They’re not going to check whether the model has agreed. If the photographer signs something saying he has consent, the magazine’s not going to question it. These pics are a dime a dozen. They probably paid just about nothing for it.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 3:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Qjersey
      Qjersey

      “sexually explicit” way

      dimwit, all your pics are “sexually explicit” without cropping

      and does gay=”adult” content?

      Sep 30, 2008 at 3:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Agenttoastar
      Agenttoastar

      This guy chose one of the biggest photographers in the gay industry – he photographed for Instinct last month. Everyone in LA knows this photog as a great guy and all the upcoming models want to pose for him. This guy posed for a photographer and said that in exchange his picture could be used. Very obvious that this guy is a homophobic guy who is trying to get money out of the gay community. So uncool. If I found out about this from one of clients – i’d not represent them.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 3:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TomFord
      TomFord

      If the “real issue is”….why is the model caring about being called homosexual? Is that so horrible in the fashion industry? This kid seems to be blackballing himself in the industry. Selfish and greedy will get him a job as a car salesman in the end.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 3:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian Miller
      Brian Miller

      So if they’d included the full photo of him pulling his underwear half-off, that wouldn’t be “suggestive?”

      Oh man. How dumb.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 3:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brandon
      Brandon

      If he didn’t sign a release, they should not have used his picture. And for the posts that say that there’s no way they would have used his picture without a release, I have two words: Taster’s Choice. A guy won a $15 million verdict for use of his likeness for years WITHOUT a release. The case is actually going to be heard by the California Supreme Court for a final decision. All I’m saying is that, in the hurly burly of making creative works, sometimes things get overlooked.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 4:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • THEGAYCOMMUNITY
      THEGAYCOMMUNITY

      Uh, ok, we’ll say it again:

      Young Ben: You spend a lot of time at GAY magazine ‘Next.’ You are close friends with high level and public GAY people. You model for ABERCROMBIE AND FITCH (hello!?). The image you contest AS VULGAR is THE LEAD image on your MYSPACE PAGE. You model for the GAY communities BEST and most well known GAY media photographer who shoots for Instinct and Genre each month. You PULL YOUR PANTS DOWN in front of HIS camera without YOU INSISTING you sign a model release. You spend time at GAY bars. And you OPPORTUNISTICALLY sue a GAY magazine (because you CAN and see the money you may win). Clearly you must be broke or very ill advised, Ben, at the very same time you have demonstrated what sucks about America and it’s lawsuit-happy-for-cash society. No problem though, ALL of the photo editors in LA, Milan, and New York will BLACK LIST you NOT because you were in a gay magazine BUT BECAUSE of what you are about to do. Good luck YOUNG Ben.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 4:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jason
      Jason

      My god. Nobody seemed to really give a damn that those two boys got kicked off their wrestling team b/c they did gay porn, but you’re all up in arms about this shite?

      For Christ’s sake, his silly lawyers wrote the damned complaint–not this model. If the magazine used his picture to hock shit, they should pay him (

      Sep 30, 2008 at 5:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kirby
      Kirby

      He posed for Playboy if I’m not mistaken. Talk about sexual….

      Sep 30, 2008 at 5:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jason
      Jason

      My god. Nobody seemed to really give a damn that those two boys got kicked off their wrestling team b/c they did gay porn, but you’re all up in arms about this shite?

      For Christ’s sake, his silly lawyers wrote the damned complaint–not this model. If the magazine used his picture to hock shit (especially lube, dildos, or sex lines), they should pay him. We wouldn’t be having this same argument is Playboy used a picture of Heidi Klum to sell sex toys. You’d be aghast, but because this seems vaguely homophobic, you’ve lost all reason. Seriously. Just b/c someone doesn’t want to be associated with sex products doesn’t make him a homophobe.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 5:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • The Non-bitter Gay Community
      The Non-bitter Gay Community

      Hey Ben,

      I don’t post on comment boards often, but I want to apologize for my gay brethren that feel the need to label you as homophobic and the abuse they heap upon you as you defend your rights.

      Sadly, a lot of us still carry resentment for the times we were outcast, shunned, mocked, reviled and much worse for being gay. This seems to cause a lot of us to feel the need to shout about any and all perceived slights – even when there is none. (Much like the over-sensitive Jew that screams “Anti-Semitism!” as a result of an imagined insult… its because they gain power by complaining about their previous persecution.)

      Unfortunately, the story of your lawsuit came on the tails of Josh Peters’ newsstory and his response to commenters on this board. It would seem that his attitude is being attributed to you.

      Please believe that there are some understanding gays in this world and try to ignore the bitter queens.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 5:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane
      M Shane

      Any “model’ is objectified by definition. There may be a problem with altering a photo. It all depends on the contract he signed.
      He’s probably out to make a buck(lawsuits being such a common and often unfortunate means) without any embarasment for appealing sexually or to males.
      Does anyone remember the notion of “trade”.
      It was not and probably still is not uncommon for straight men to prostetute themselves to gay men-as a not entirely uncommon profession. Some straight men who aren’t homophobic appreciate being attractive to men. It’s just an ego thing. This guy is attractive- if he was bright he would take best advantage of it esp. if Genre chose to show him off.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 5:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew

      “Well, I suppose that’s fair enough then. Still, he should have said so earlier and saved himself a lot of grief.”
      Or perhaps people shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions? I read the initial reports, and there was NO reason to suspect he was being homophobic. This is about a guy who had sexually charged images of himself published without his permission. No one has the right to do that and I hope Genre has to make a significant payment.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 6:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bamberger
      Bamberger

      Genre is usually being accused of not using gay models – now a straight model is saying that he will be mistaken for being gay because he is in Genre? That does not make sense. Genre is know for dissing gay models for the straight jocks.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 7:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew

      Bamberger, could you please provide a link to a quote that suggests that Ben Massing’s concern is that he might be mistaken for a homosexual? Or, alternatively, consider thinking before you type.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 8:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mark
      mark

      next model

      Sep 30, 2008 at 8:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RCG
      RCG

      The picture in question is from an 8-page editorial entitled “The Other Online. Hint: It Ain’t About Sex, It’s About Fame” which features various male models identified by first name, online profile number from model-photographer website Model Mayhem, and available cities.

      When one follows the link to Mr. Massing’s online profile, a summary of past campaigns and print work is listed. Interestingly, his editorial in Playboy is referenced thusly:
      -October Issue of Playboy (NOT PLAYGIRL)

      If Mr. Massing did not sign a model release, then the photographer and magazine are likely at fault for publishing unauthorized photographs. If he did, however, classifying Genre as an adult-themed magazine is as fair as categorizing Cosmopolitan as one. Both Genre and Instinct are known as fertile editorial ground for models from top agencies.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 9:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • scott
      scott

      As Andrew said, peeps jumped to conclusions. And that is a HUGE problem with this society and peeps. And gay people should know better.

      I’M BEHIND YOU BEN!!! (no, not like that you horny toads!)

      And while an Art Director should check out the model release, it doesn’t always happen. Shite falls thru the cracks as times.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 11:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JerryD
      JerryD

      Agreed, Scott. Things happen. What a jerk to jump on the legal wagon that shows how hickish – and UN-professional he is — and will be for a campaign.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 11:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • akaison
      akaison

      No matter how many time the sock puppets post on here about how unfair this guy was mistreated the fact is this is a flimsy case. I am just saying as a lawyer whoever took this case is either an idiot or a fame whore. My guess is the latter. Either way, reading it and his basis for filing it- it’s b.s. It’s a shame people are this desperate to become famous.

      Sep 30, 2008 at 11:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • adrean
      adrean

      This guy needs to drop the suits or he will be iced out of all gigs in the future. The magazine & modeling world are very tight. This does not stop – this guys future, will. Save your self, dude!

      Oct 1, 2008 at 12:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MaryFisherSpooner
      MaryFisherSpooner

      OK…he certainly has the right to his lawsuit, and if there really was no release – either from him or his photographer – the magazine obviously made a mistake. But I remember Ben’s myspace profile from YEARS AGO…at least 2, probably 3. This little man-whore has had tons of sexy pictures of himself posted there. He’s also posted himself to a number of amateur modeling websites. Something makes me think he wouldn’t mind the attention if it had been a more “respectable” publication (in his mind), like Men’s Health or Rolling Stone.

      Oct 1, 2008 at 3:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robbyrob
      Robbyrob

      I’m sorry Ben but you’ve lost me here. This whole lawsuit, especially the language your lawyers put in really takes the cake. I don’t know you but your actions scream of someone who is two-faced. Get over it…you posed for the picture right? You weren’t coerced or threatened with bodily harm should you not have done it? You could’ve walked right out of the room and said ‘see ya’. Also, I don’t get it…either your ‘offended by being approached by gay men’ or not homophobic at all. Most would be flattered to be viewed desirable. If some guys are out of line, that’s them not all of us. Same can be said of women. The Next editor should be ashamed to attach his name to this. You need to do some damage control on this or all the work you’ll get is only in Next. Rein in those laywers of yours. Maybe you’ll win the lawsuit but you’ll lose more in the end.

      Oct 1, 2008 at 8:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • J
      J

      I know ben. He is a completely delusional, lost soul. His myspace once said he made over $250,000 a year… meanwhile he was passing out flyers for a club and was kicked out of his apartment because he couldn’t afford rent. Please stop making a big deal about this because this feeds the tall tales and lies he tells everyone around him that he is somebody important in this world. If you knew him on a personal level you would see what a tool he really is.

      Oct 1, 2008 at 11:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew

      My apologies, Bamberger, re more recent developments…

      Oct 2, 2008 at 6:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Wow
      Wow

      Quoted for truth, I agree with this person, and have probably met them:

      “No. 44 · J
      I know ben. He is a completely delusional, lost soul. His myspace once said he made over $250,000 a year… meanwhile he was passing out flyers for a club and was kicked out of his apartment because he couldn’t afford rent. Please stop making a big deal about this because this feeds the tall tales and lies he tells everyone around him that he is somebody important in this world. If you knew him on a personal level you would see what a tool he really is.”

      That really does sum him up.

      Oct 30, 2008 at 6:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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