A federal judge has ruled that calling somebody “gay” no longer legally qualifies as defamation because of society’s changing attitudes. The ruling came in the case of noted douchebag Howard K. Stern, who is suing the author of a book on the life of Anna Nicole Smith.
U.S. District Judge Denny Chin of Manhattan ruled (PDF posted by the New York Law Journal) that calling someone gay is not defamation per se because of a “veritable sea change in attitudes about homosexuality,” the New York Law Journal reports. He ruled in a suit by lawyer Howard K. Stern against television journalist Rita Cosby, who wrote the book Blonde Ambition: The Untold Story Behind Anna Nicole Smith’s Death. Chin noted that New York courts have held there are four categories of statements that constitute defamation per se, including accusations of serious crime or statements that tend to injure another in his trade or profession. Gay conduct is no longer a crime, he said, and gays and lesbians are no longer viewed as shameful or odious.
The book claims that Smith frequently watched a sex tape featuring Stern and another of her paramours, Larry Birkhead.