Saturday 20 January 2018

Irish model to sue photo agency after she became face of HIV campaign

The campaign featured in the newspaper
The campaign featured in the newspaper

AN IRISH model based in New York is to sue a photo agency after it allowed her image to be used as part of a HIV campaign.

Dubliner Avril Nolan (33) was wrongly depicted as being HIV positive in a newspaper campaign.

The DCU graduate, who does not have HIV or AIDS, moved to New York three years ago to pursue a career in PR.

The image used originated from a shoot she took part in with photographer Jena Cumbo two years ago – however she alleges in filed court papers that he had no written release or authorisation to sell the image.

Photo agency Getty Images licensed the picture for use in the April 3rd edition of newspaper AM New York in 2012.

The paper is a free sheet which has a circulation of millions around the city.

The image of her face is accompanied by the words ‘I am positive (+)’.

The message was paid for by the New York State Division of Human Rights, adding that "people who are HIV positive are protected by the New York State Human Rights Law."

"Upon learning of the publication, [Ms Nolan] became instantly upset and apprehensive that her relatives, potential romantic partners, clients as well as bosses and supervisors might have seen the advertisement," it says in the court papers.

"Feeling humiliated and embarrassed, [Ms Nolan] was forced to confess to her bosses that her image had been used in an advertisement for HIV services, implying that she was infected with HIV, in a newspaper often used by her own clients for advertising and that is distributed to tens of thousands of New Yorkers every day."

The photographer, Jena Cumbo, confirmed to the New York Post that Ms Nolan never signed a release with Getty for her image to be used.

Ms Nolan is suing Getty Images for damages in the region of €330,000.


Brian O'Reilly

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