‘Birther’ authors sue Esquire magazine over parody
Joseph Farah, the editor of WorldNetDaily.com, and Jerome Corsi, author of Where’s the Birth Certificate? The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible to Be President, have filed a defamation lawsuit against Hearst, Esquire magazine and writer Mark Warren over a satirical article.
The lawsuit, announced Wednesday, claims that an article written by Warren and published by Esquire on May 18 defamed Farah and Corsi, and damaged their business interests.
The article was entitled, “BREAKING! Jerome Corsi’s Birther Book Pulled From Shelves!” and satirically claimed that Farah told Corsi he pulled the book because “we don’t want to look like fucking idiots” after President Barack Obama released his long-form birth certificate.
An update to the story later explained that the story was a parody.
“We committed satire this morning to point out the problems with selling and marketing a book that has had its core premise and reason to exist gutted by the news cycle, several weeks in advance of publication,” the updated said. “This is despicable, and deserves only ridicule.”
Forbes reported that Farah and Corsi are seeking compensatory damages of $100 million and punitive damages of $20 million. They claim the article harmed their book sales.
An Esquire spokesman told Forbes that the parody was a completely legitimate form of expression and that it was marked as “humor.”
“It was amateurish, it was rank, and it hurt,” said Larry Klayman, the lawyer for Farah and Corsi, said at a press conference. “There was nothing stating that it was satire.”
“When you hold an individual or individuals out outrageously for ridicule in a community, the statements can even be true, but if you intend to cause harm then they are actionable,” he added.