A N.J. mother was shocked when she found out a breastfeeding help video she participated in ended up on numerous pornography websites. She is now suing the Iowa-based producer of the educational video.
According to several media sources, MaryAnn Sahoury agreed when a lactation consultant asked if she would be willing to be filmed for an educational breastfeeding video in Jan. 2010. She initially had trouble nursing, and after mastering the art of breastfeeding, she wanted to help others who were having difficulties.
“Breastfeeding for me was the most rewarding thing I had ever done in my life,” Sahoury told NBC 4 New York. “I wanted to share that with people. I wanted to really give back.”
So she agreed that she and her 1-month-old daughter would participate in the educational video; Sahoury was not paid for her contribution.
The video was produced by Iowa-based Meredith Video Studies, a division of Meredith Corporation. Sahoury says she was told by the videographer the footage taken would only be used for the breastfeeding educational video and only her first name would be used in the film. She was under the impression it would go on Meredith's website for parents and a cable TV channel, Parent.tv.
However, that wasn't exactly what happened, the video was posted to YouTube with both her and her baby's full names; subsequently the video was taken by a third party who edited and distributed the footage across various porn sites. At least one individual took the video and reportedly spliced it with other footage of a woman of similar stature. If that wasn't bad enough, the third party also included both Sahoury and her child's full names.
“I was sick to my stomach,” Sahoury told NBC. “I didn’t know what I was going to do. I just felt so paralyzed. For a mom, it’s really hard to see that. You don’t want your kids exposed to that world.”
Admittedly, Sahoury says she did not read the release in its entirety. New York Daily News reported. She was allegedly given the release after the video was filmed and she was putting her infant in the car. She says she assumed it reflected everything the videographer already told her.
“I really had no reason to question it,” Sahoury said. “We went through everything before so I just filled it out and I signed it.”
However, the paperwork reportedly indicated she signed permission for the breastfeeding help video to be used "across all platforms", which seemingly includes YouTube in today's social-media driven world.
Since discovering the pornography with her and her child's images and names splashed across the web, she has been diligently working to get it all removed. She reportedly begged Meredith to have YouTube take down the X-rated versions of her educational video, but allegedly this was delayed, and the video had been viewed by 15,000 before it was removed. It was eventually removed, but new versions continue to show up.
According to a statement shared by NBC, Meredith said they were appalled when they heard what happened. The company says it took immediate action, hiring lawyers and online specialists who filed take-down demands and took other initiatives to get the content removed.
The statement also said said, "We took these actions even though Ms. Sahoury signed a release authorizing use of the video across all media platforms, and holding Meredith harmless for any potential misuse of the video by a third party."
Unfortunately, there is still more out there. Digital Journal performed a Google search and confirmed her name is connected with unsavory-looking websites.
Sahoury ended up initiating a lawsuit last year against the video production company and Parent.tv on claims of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, negligence, breach of contract, invasion of privacy, negligent infliction of emotional distress and equitable fraud.
This week a federal judge in N.J. ruled the case would be allowed to go forward, reported New Jersey Law Journal, courtesy of Daily Report Online.
The case, M.S. v. Meredith Corp., 11-cv-5180, is expected to begin later in 2012.