Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

'Toddlers and Tiaras' Mom Sues TMZ, HuffPo for 'Sexualizing' Girl's Video

Article Placeholder Image
By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on January 30, 2012 5:01 AM

You knew one was coming soon. How could it not? Have you seen those little girls? They're told to show off their bellies for heaven's sake!

But alas, the new Toddlers & Tiaras lawsuit does not involve Alana of honey-boo-boo-child fame. No, it involves 5-year-old Isabella Barrett and her mom, Susanna.

Or, as TMZ, the Huffington Post and the Daily Mail would probably put it: her pimp.

Isabella's mom is suing the media outlets for their "brazen attempt to sexualize the girl," according to the New York News. Earlier this month, the sites posted a video of the bedazzled tot as she rocked out to LMFAO's I'm Sexy and I Know It at a local charity event

They described the beauty queen as "gyrating in a nightclub and singing about her sex appeal." Was she?

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

So, the gossip mongers got one thing right -- Isabella Barrett was singing "I'm sexy and I know it." But otherwise, she seems to be shimmying and waving her arms like the 5-year-old she is.

Still, that discrepancy probably won't be enough to win the Toddlers & Tiaras lawsuit, which claims the stories made people perceive Isabella "sexually, erotically and pornographically."

Defamation suits involving public figures (she's a reality star) are much more difficult to win than those involving ordinary people. This is doubly true when the news media is involved.

To recover the requested $30 million, Barrett will need to prove the websites acted with actual malice. That they purposefully ignored, or recklessly disregarded, the facts. That they did not investigate the associated claims.

At this point, it seems like the Toddlers & Tiaras lawsuit is based on Susanna Barrett's dislike of the media's interpretation of the above video. You can't sue someone for an opinion.

Related Resources: