Mum sues over breastfeeding-turned-porn video
"You don't want your kids exposed to that world" ... MaryAnn Sahoury
An American mum is suing a video production company after her instructional breastfeeding video was later used to create pornography.
In January 2010, MaryAnn Sahoury agreed to be filmed demonstrating breastfeeding techniques for Parents TV, a video-based site owned by Meredith Corporation. When filming was over, she was asked to sign a piece of paper; holding her month-old daughter at the time, she signed it without reading it. She was told only first names would be used in the video.
It was terrifying. It was like I can't even control my life and it was spiralling out of control
When the New Jersey mum Googled herself months later she was shocked by what she found: numerous links to pornographic sites and videos containing her full name - and that of her daughter - along with phrases such as "breastfeeding orgasm". She clicked one link and saw the breastfeeding video spliced with a woman of "similar features and stature" performing sex acts, she said.
"For a mum, it's really hard to see that," the 35-year-old said. "You don't want your kids exposed to that world."
Sahoury took Meredith Corporation to court, seeking an order prohibiting the defendants from using the video for any purpose. The lawsuit also claims the video was placed on YouTube, when Sahoury was told it would appear only on Parents TV and cable television.
The lawsuit states Meredith Corporation had initially helped Sahoury with her efforts to find the person responsible for producing the porn, but that the help soon waned. Sahoury said although the videos were originally removed from the internet, more keep popping up.
"It was terrifying. It was like I can't even control my life and it was spiralling out of control," she said.
In a statement, Meredith Corporation said it was "appalled" that the video was misused, and that the company has hired lawyers to file take-down demands, as well as internet specialists to clear online caches. It also pointed out that Sahoury had signed a full release for the video.
Meredith Corporation requested that the lawsuit be dismissed, but last week a judge ruled the case could go ahead, saying the company "should have known that such careless actions would result in damage to Sahoury and [her daughter]."
Sahoury, who'd had trouble breastfeeding, said she'd only ever agreed to be in the video in order to help women who faced similar difficulties.
"I didn't get paid to do this, I didn't want to be some sort of celebrity," she said. "I did this to help other mums."