Animal Rights: History and Scope of a Radical Social Movement

By Harold D. Guither | Go to book overview

Appendix 7
The Bobby Berosini Orangutans Case
On August 2, 1989, Bobby Berosini, a Las Vegas night club entertainer with an orangutan act, filed suit at the Clark County, Nevada, District Court for defamation, misappropriation of name, likeness, and character (for fund-raising using his name), and invasion of privacy against PETA, PAWS, and other individuals. In the lawsuit Berosini claimed:
PETA had contact with entertainers in the production show in which Berosini's orangutans appeared;
PETA identified Berosini as a principal target in their fund-raising campaign based on stopping the use of animals in entertainment;
an entertainer working with PETA secretly filmed Berosini trying to get the animals under control;
PETA edited and altered the tapes and then distributed the doctored tapes;
PETA waged a massive misinformation media campaign, falsely accusing Berosini of criminal animal abuse;
PETA falsely called him a child abuser;
PETA falsely accused him of beating the orangutans with a steel pipe;
PETA falsely stated that the striking of the orangutans was routine and unprovoked;
US Department of Agriculture conducted an investigation and found no signs of abuse; and
the producer of the tape admitted he altered the sound and the visual portion of the tape in order to sensationalize the tape.
PETA filed a counterclaim against Berosini, requesting confiscation of the orangutans due to Berosini's alleged abuse. The court dismissed the counterclaim "with prejudice."On August 11, 1990, the jury ruled in favor of Berosini and against PETA, PAWS, Jeanne Roush, Pat Derby, and Ottavio Gesmundo as follows:
Invasion of privacy, unreasonable intrusion upon seclusion of another:
Ottavio Gesmundo, $250,000
Invasion of privacy, appropriation of another's name or likeness:
PETA, general and special damages, $500,000
Jeanne Roush, general and special damages, $250,000

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