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Paris Hilton's ex-paramour files defamation lawsuit over "sex tape" scandal


By Wade Paulsen, 11/14/2003 

The Smoking Gun reports that Rick Solomon, actress Shannen Doherty's on-again, off-again husband, filed the defamation lawsuit threatened by his lawyer, Hollywood "pit bull" Martin Singer, in California Superior Court on Wednesday, Nov. 12. The suit requests $10 million in damages, but the main surprise in the lawsuit is that Solomon's last name is really Salomon.

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The lawsuit scathingly attacks both Paris Hilton and her family. For example, it begins with an all-out assault on Paris Hilton's image:

"By using a cadre of high-priced publicists, and by deftly handling publicity each step of the way, the Hilton family has alternately portrayed Paris Hilton as a priveleged heiress, a socialite, a cutting-edge fashion icon, and a larger-than-life Hollywood starlet. The creation and management of this facade has apparently paid off, as Hilton has become famous merely by acting famous, and has been slated to star on a new television show on FOX. However, as this case shows, when this delicate facade is tested by an unpleasant truth, the Hiltons will do whatever it takes to protect this phony veneer, even orchestrating a malicious and outrageous publicity campaign aimed at portraying Plaintiff Richard Salomon as a "criminal" without any basis whatsoever."

Legal rule #1: when you read a court brief that opens with a statement like this, you're going to have to look very hard for the "meat" of the case. Instead, this type of brief is intended solely to be excerpted in articles like this one, where all the invective adds pressure on the other side to settle in some fashion. Since we are not on Martin Singer's payroll, and since he is well known for such tactics (see his actions toward reporter John Connelly in an effort to protect another of his clients), we feel no desire to quote any more of this brief.

However, we should point out that we couldn't resist a chuckle when reading about the "deft" publicity campaign to make Paris Hilton a star, since she has been repeatedly ridiculed both for her behavior (on many occasions) and for her comments and behavior during The SImple Life filming.

The complaint does reveal that the videotape lasts for approximately 27 minutes, and that Paris and Salomon engage in sexual intercourse for about 20 minutes of it. It does admit that Salomon was the one who wanted to videotape these acts. But one thing the complaint doesn't reveal is what damage was supposedly done by Salomon from the comments by Paris, her family and her publicist.

Instead, the complaint simply talks about the "devastating effects to Salomon which would clearly result [from their comments]" and the "substantial general and special damages" suffered by Salomon. However, as we mentioned in our previous article, Salomon runs an adult-oriented company called Beverly Hills Pimps & Hos. How could his reputation be damaged by an allegation that he engaged in sleazy sexual behavior?

Even though the complaint doesn't mention them, we do believe that Salomon has suffered some economic damages from this whole affair: he has lost the ability to profit from the tape as much as possible. If the story told by his friend Don Thrasher, which we discussed yesterday, is true, then Salomon had no idea that the tape was a potential gold mine. The $50,000 that an adult video concern paid for rights to the tape is merely a drop in the bucket compared to its true value in the porn trade based upon the publicity that the tape has generated.

Before Salomon can realize any portion of the tape's worth, though, he needs to establish that he has title to the tape, free and clear of any claims from Paris. Then, he can then sell it in the fashion that will make him the most money. But how to resolve Paris'claims? This lawsuit, of course.

Frankly, we feel soiled writing about the whole thing, as if Martin Singer had just hired us to clean his septic tank and the hose broke. Nevertheless, we'll let you know what happens next.

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