Posted by: Dahni | July 28, 2015

Invasion of Privacy

by Dahni

© 2015, all rights reserved

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Whether you like wrestling or Hulk Hogan  (Terry Gene Bollea) or not, it is quite possible that you have heard of his recently revealed racial comments. These revealed and admitted comments led to the consequences of his name, images and accomplishments scrubbed from the website belonging to the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment — http://www.wwe.com)  and his contract revoked. But do you know how this information came to light? You should know and you should be deeply concerned!

Facts are pesky things, but so is law and such a thing as the right to privacy.

Privacy

 

By now, most major news outlets have reported the racially charged comments. An audio transcript of Hulk Hogan uttering racist comments was leaked to Radar Online and the National ENQUIRER, resulting in his termination from WWE. That transcript came from private audio that appeared on a private tape from 2012. That tape, of course, is at the center of a 100 million dollar litigation between Hulk Hogan and Gawker.com, which published excerpts of it.

The WWE parted company with Hogan apparently as preemptive damage control. His profile was removed from WWE.com, along with the large amount of his namesake merchandise on the company’s online store. He had been active on television as the central judge on Tough Enough (USA network https://www.wwetoughenough.com), as well as, working as an ambassador for the company.

WWE confirmed that Hogan’s contract was terminated in a statement on the morning of, 7/24/15:

“WWE terminated its contract with Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan). WWE is committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide.”

That all sounds nice and politically correct, but what about the illegal means, the violation of privacy that was used to make those decisions?

OK, those are facts, pesky facts, but pesky and facts.

It does not matter that I’m not a fan of wrestling. It does not matter that I met Hulk Hogan a few years ago, have his autograph and found him to be a very nice and polite man, a far cry from the persona he has designed and the controversies he has been a part of. But, none of that matters!

It does not matter if Gawker leaked the information or not. Someone(s) leaked private information!

It does not matter that Hulk Hogan has apologized and/or admitted to any of these remarks. They were obtained privately and released illegally!

If I were Hulk Hogan, I would keep my mouth shut admit nothing and go after Gawker, if there is evidence that they illegally obtained and released this information. I would sue Vince McMahon, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of the WWE. I would sue the WWE for wrongful termination or breech of contract. I would sue Radar, the National ENQUIRER and any and all other news media and all individuals that have reported on private information and released it to the public!

At least all the news media should have vetted this information and ran it through their legal departments. And, ABC, CBS, CNBC, CNN, Fox, NBC, and etc. all have one! Having legal departments means that they all have lawyers. The lawyers most of all, should have known better than to publicly release private information!

“A lawyer should maintain high standards of professional conduct and should encourage fellow lawyers to do likewise. He should be temperate and dignified, and he should refrain from all illegal and morally reprehensible conduct. Because of his position in society, even minor violations of law by a lawyer may tend to lessen public confidence in the legal profession. Obedience to law exemplifies respect for law. To lawyers especially, respect for the law should be more than a platitude.”

EC 1-5

CANON 1. A LAWYER SHOULD ASSIST IN MAINTAINING THE INTEGRITY AND COMPETENCE OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION
ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
American Bar Association Model Code of Professional Responsibility (1983)

Now, I could not find the above referenced in a more later version or amended American Bar Association Code of Professional Responsibility, but I just can’t imagine that what I have quoted from them has substantially changed or has been reversed!

I am not defending Hulk Hogan. As a former member of the press and an investigative reporter, I cannot condone the media for reporting and profiting from this controversy. I am quite familiar with the F.O.I. (Freedom of Information) and proper requests to obtain information by use of an F.O.I. This does NOT apply in this situation as the public does NOT need to know private information that was illegally obtained!

Hulk Hogan needs to do what he needs to do, but I need to forget this information because, it is private and has been obtained and released illegally!

Sure, it sounds like the law only protects the guilty, but that is neither true nor the intention of the right to privacy. Just imagine if this was about you and absolutely none of it was true, but public opinion made you guilty from information that was false because, it had no right to it because, it was private.

For me, this is all summed up perfectly, in a video clip from the Andy Griffith show.

 

The U. S. Constitution contains no express right to privacy. The Bill of Rights, however, reflects the concern of James Madison and other framers for protecting specific aspects of privacy, such as the privacy of beliefs (1st Amendment), privacy of the home against demands that it be used to house soldiers (3rd Amendment), privacy of the person and possessions as against unreasonable searches (4th Amendment), and the 5th Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination, which provides protection for the privacy of personal information.  In addition, the Ninth Amendment states that the “enumeration of certain rights” in the Bill of Rights “shall not be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people.”  The meaning of the Ninth Amendment is elusive, but some persons (including Justice Goldberg in his Griswold concurrence) have interpreted the Ninth Amendment as justification for broadly reading the Bill of Rights to protect privacy in ways not specifically provided in the first eight amendments.

All of us have the right to privacy!

 

Just I-Magine,

Thankgiving09_MySig


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