Perez Hilton’s found himself in a bit of a legal pickle.
Former reader – and presumed fan – Diane Wargo has filed a $25 million lawsuit against the blogger. Wargo claims that Hilton violated his own privacy agreement after he posted a curse-laden email she sent from her work information.
By printing her email, Wargo says, Hilton set off a firestorm of hateful emails from his many readers. The suit also alleges that she, her husband and children all received death threats following the email’s publication. Wargo’s employers, Menorah Park Center for Senior Living, subsequently fired Wargo for the email, which read, in part: “Perez you are a fat gay pig. Angelina is a [sic] ugly whore. You love her because she’s a fag lover.” Sounds like a classy lady.
What’s interesting, we think, is that the press release from Wargo’s lawyer defends her language. And, in fact, blames it on Hilton himself!
According to the Complaint, after Wargo sent an email challenging Hiltonâ€™s opinion, she received derogatory emails with crass language back from PerezHilton.com at her work email address. When those emails kept coming, despite requests to stop, Wargo emailed back with the same type of crass language that is typical of the PerezHilton.com website. Wargo hoped that by using the same type of language, she would get her point across in a way that was typical for PerezHilton.com.
Hilton’s lawyers claim that his privacy agreement only applies to the comments section of his website, not personally addressed emails. Wargo’s legal team, meanwhile, say that Hilton has previously sued for a similar offense: when he sued blogger “Jonathan Jaxson” in the wake of their sex-centric IM scandal. Again, from the press release:
[Wargo lawyer Brian D. Spitz] pointed out the contradiction of Hiltonâ€™s actions in this case compared to Hiltonâ€™s suit against fellow blogger Jonathan Lewandowski, which Hilton filed on April 8, 2008 in the Superior Court of California for the County of Los Angeles. In that case, Hilton primarily claims an invasion into his privacy resulting from the publication of Hiltonâ€™s cell phone number.
Spitz added, â€œOn one hand, Hilton voluntarily gives out his phone number to â€˜a plethora of sourcesâ€™ and Jonathan without anyone promising him to keep it private; and then sues when his number is published on a blog.
Spitz went on to say that he would share his opinion of Hilton, but then “he would probably sue me, too.” This is obviously a very sophisticated legal team.
Anyway, here’s the PDF of the Wargo v. Hilton complaint.