Rick Salomon and porn website trade lawsuits over Paris Hilton sex tape
By Wade Paulsen, 11/19/2003
At least Paris Hilton is now famous for doing something, even if it is "the nasty." Next, she can be known for her role in the "Sue Me, Sue You Blues."
In the latest twist to the sordid tale of the X-rated tape made by Paris, the co-star of Fox's upcoming The Simple Life, and her paramour from three years ago, Rick Salomon (who was ... and still is ... married to TV star Shannen Doherty), two new lawsuits have been filed. First, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Salomon and his "pit bull" lawyer Marty Singer sued adult entertainment provider Marvad for $10 million for copyright infringement and invasion of privacy. In the suit, Salomon claims that the tape was stolen from his possession and that he never authorized sale of the tape. Thus, Marvad's distribution of a 3.5 minute snippet should entitle him to millions in damages. This was Salomon's second lawsuit in two days, following his $10 million slander lawsuit against Paris, her family and her publicist. It appears Salomon may enjoy filing lawsuits even more than running his adult-oriented business, Beverly Hills Pimps & Hos.
In the next lawsuit, as expected, Marvad has sued Don Thrasher, Salomon's friend who sold it the tape for a $50,000 advance against 30% of the gross revenues collected from the tape, for $10 million. According to the Associated Press, Marvad claims that Thrasher misled them into believing that he owned the tape. A Marvad publicist, using the fractured English expected from pornographers, said, "There was millions of dollars at stake here."
For his part, Thrasher continues to insist that he was given the tape by Salomon and was merely acting as Salomon's agent. On Saturday, Thrasher said, "We had an agreement to sell the tape, He gave me the tape. Period." Thrasher also contends that he cashed the $50,000 advance check that he received from Marvad and gave half to Salomon. However, it appears that the only way for Thrasher to prove this will be to join Salomon to the lawsuit.
Meanwhile, Paris, who returned over the weekend from her TV-sponsored tour of Australia with her sister Nicky, issued a statement claiming to be mortified by the tale of the tape. She said, "I feel embarrassed and humiliated, especially because my parents and the people who love me have been hurt. I was in an intimate relationship and never, ever thought that these things would become public."
Uh, Paris, isn't there only one reason that you tape yourself having sex: so that you can show it to other people? We wonder if the "embarassment and humiliation" doesn't relate more to the fact that Paris's claims this spring to her family and, apparently, to Fox, that such a tape didn't exist have been proven to be barefaced lies.
According to the NY Daily News, Paris and her father have hired yet another PR consultant, New York-based Dan Klores, to deal with the fallout from the sex tape. It looks like the spin may have started already, as the Daily News details several efforts by Paris' super-rich parents, Rick and Kathy Hilton, ostensibly directed toward helping their "celebutante" daughter break her drinking and partying habits, all of which were, of course, unsuccessful.
Although Paris' parents may not have expected her to end up as the queen of XXX-rated porn, a second article in the Daily News notes that such self-taping appeals to celebrities, who tend to be risk-takers. A male "sexologist" summed it up thusly, "Part of what makes sex sexy is risk. The riskier it is, the sexier it is." A female "sexologist" added, "If you know you're being taped, you have sex differently - more enthusiastically - than if you weren't."
According to reviews of the tape, Paris definitely doesn't lack enthusiasm. At one point, Salomon asked her which one of them was on the monitor. Paris responded by quickly moving herself directly in front of the camera, then answered "Me!" Salomon also coaxed her to climb on top of him and face forward so "they can see how pretty you are." Note the use of the word "they" ... uh, and we're supposed to believe that Paris never thought anyone else would see this?
According to Salomon's lawsuit against Paris, at the end of the tape, she "is shown standing alone in a well-lit bathroom slowly scanning the camera all over her stomach, breasts and face." No wonder she was so comfortable being called a "nearly-naked model" during The Simple Life -- she'd posed with even less on!
This expectation of public viewing during the taping makes sense to a third "sexologist," who notes, "It's no coincidence that all the celebrities who tape themselves just happen to have perfect bodies. They want people to see them, to see how sexy they are. They want people to say, 'Wow, she's hot.'" Indeed, the fact that Paris is "hot" (which, we note, begins with "ho") is a major reason why the value of the tape has skyrocketed since its existence was first disclosed.
Which brings us back to the Marvad lawsuit against Don Thrasher. As an exhibit in its lawsuit, Marvad filed a copy of its contract with him, and The Smoking Gun has posted a copy. The contract language is completely inconsistent with Salomon's claims that Thrasher was acting as a thief, since the contract recitals deal almost entirely with Salomon. Here are the claims made by the contract, which sound very similar to the claims made by Salomon so far during the legal procedings:
1. Salomon "authored and created" the tape "for the purpose of ultimately showing it to friends and fans";
2. Salomon wanted to exploit the tape bacause Paris denied its existence and called him a "complete liar and scumbag";
3. The content of the tape reveals Paris's desire for it to be seen by third parties;
4. Salomon retains the copyright to the tape but only licensed it to Thrasher to re-license it to a company such as Marvad;
5. Salomon's involvement is confidential, because his marriage to Shannen Doherty (and her career and reputation, such as it is) could be jeopardized if it were to be revealed that he had authorized release of the tape;
6. Thrasher makes no representation that he owns the tape or has any rights to it except as a licensee from Salomon -- but he does represent that "Paris Hilton expressly advised Salomon that she consents to and authorizes the public Exploitation of the Video, and waives and releases all claims in connection therewith, including rights of privacy and any rights in under California Civil Code s. 3344, or any functional equivalent or similar law throughout the world."
As we noted previously, we tend to believe that the fact that Salomon probably has no such authorization from Paris may well be the motivating factor behind these lawsuits. We also believe that he is unlikely to get any such authorization if he doesn't already have it. Thus, we think the Paris Tapes may soon end up back on the shelf ... and, as George Harrison said in "Sue Me, Sue You Blues":
"Court receiver, laughs, and thrills./
But in the end we just pay those lawyers their bills."