Greens Senator Hanson-Young sues over photoshopped bikini photos

Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young says men’s magazine ZOO made her look incompetent and immature when they photoshopped her head onto the body of a lingerie clad model.

The South Australian Senator is taking legal action against the lads mag on several ground over the photo and the article ‘ZOO’s Asylum Seeker Bikini Plan’ which was published in July 2012. The article followed an emotional address by Hanson-Young to the Senate about asylum-seekers. 

In the original article the magazine had said it would ‘house the next boatload of asylum seekers in the ZOO office’, if the Greens' immigration spokeswoman would agree to a "tasteful" bikini or lingerie photo shoot.

Senator Hanson-Young claims the magazine gave rise to several imputations, including that she is "not a politician to be taken seriously" and that her pro-asylum seeker stance is "ridiculous".

The senator also claims the article suggested she was not competent to make a serious contribution to the political debate on asylum seekers because she is "too emotional" and "too immature". 

NSW Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum struck out several of her arguments, saying she did not believe the photo made the senator look incompetent or immature.

Justice McCallum, however, granted Senator Hanson-Young leave to argue her case in front of a jury at a later date. 

Bauer Media, which owns ZOO magazine, claimed the article was plainly intended as a joke and only a ‘strained, forced or unnatural reading’ of it would cause a reader not to take Senator Hanson-Young seriously.

In her judgment, Justice McCallum found there was no imputation that Senator Hanson-Young was immature and emotional.

‘I do not have any difficulty accepting that the article is denigrating and capable of holding [Hanson-Young] up to public ridicule,’ Justice McCallum said.

‘However, I do not think it is capable of attributing incompetence or immaturity to her.’

It’s quite unusual for Australian politicians to take such action against the media no matter how cruel the photoshop-job. For example, earlier this year Labor’s then Communications Minister Stephen Conroy was photoshopped to appear as Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin.

Perhaps this signals a change in relationship between politicians and the media? 

Image via SMH

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