TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Site Wins Right to Dub Famed Stuntman 'Pimp'

Site Wins Right to Dub Famed Stuntman 'Pimp'

(no name) ((no email))
Wed, 5 Jan 2005 10:21:01 EST

By Adam Tanner

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel cannot sue
a Web site that published a photo of him with two women above a
caption reading "You're never too old to be a pimp," a U.S. appeals
court ruled on Tuesday.

The term "pimp" was probably intended as a compliment, the court
said. But Knievel said, "What good is law in the United States of
America if five or six goddamn bimbos are going to rule against it?"

The Montana native sued after ESPN, a subsidiary of Walt Disney Co.,
published a photo of the famed stunt driver at the Action Sports and
Music Awards in 2001 with his arms around his wife and a second young

The photo on the Web site ran alongside that of other people
with captions that, in the words of a lower court ruling, "contained
loose, figurative, slang language."

The motorcycle rider, who gained notoriety jumping over rows of buses,
trucks and other barriers in the 1960s and 1970s, sued, alleging the
photo brought him and his wife "public disgrace and scandal."

After a Montana district court dismissed the case at the request of
ESPN, Knievel appealed to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals based
in San Francisco.

"Although the word 'pimp' may be reasonably capable of defamatory
meaning when read in isolation, we agree with the district court's
assessment that 'the term loses its meaning when considered in the
context presented here,"' Judge Wallace Tashima wrote for the
three-judge panel.

"The term 'pimp' as used on the Web site was not intended as
a criminal accusation, nor was it reasonably susceptible to such a
literal interpretation. Ironically, it was most likely intended as a

In a dissent that quoted William Shakespeare, Judge Carlos Bea backed
Knievel. "Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, Is the immediate
jewel of their souls," he wrote, quoting Shakespeare's Iago.

Then in his own voice, Bea wrote, "In my view, the word 'pimp' is
reasonably susceptible to a defamatory meaning."

Informed of the decision by a telephone call to his home in
Clearwater, Florida, Knievel responded angrily.

"They disregarded the goddamn law and they ought to be discharged,
they ought to be ashamed of themselves," he told Reuters. "They ruled
against the law. What good is law in the United States of America if
five or six goddamn bimbos are going to rule against it?"

Knievel, 66, added that he would ask his lawyer to appeal the case to
the Supreme Court.

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