Joe McGinniss Wants to Be Taken Out of "Sarah Palin's Alaska"

Joe McGinniss Wants to Be Taken Out of "Sarah Palin's Alaska"

Joe McGinniss Wants to Be Taken Out of "Sarah Palin's Alaska"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 5 2010 5:26 PM

Joe McGinniss Wants to Be Taken Out of "Sarah Palin's Alaska"

The premiere episode of "Sarah Palin's Alaska" began with the former governor's piqued version of a minor scandal of the summer -- author Joe McGinniss renting the house next to hers as he researched his biography of Palin. Today, McGinniss's attorney Dennis Holahan has requested that McGinniss's image be removed from the show as "he was not aware that any camera crew was in fact videotaping him," and the description of him in the show was "defamatory." (McGinniss has repeatedly objected to Palin's assertion that he could, or even wanted to, spy on her kids from the house -- an assertion she made again in the show.)

Edward Sabin, COO
Eileen O'Neill, President
The Learning Channel (TLC)

David Zaslav  CEO
Peter Liguori, COO 
Discovery Comm., LLC

Mark Burnett,  President
Mark Burnett Productions

RE: "Sarah Palin’s Alaska" // Invasion of Privacy of Joe McGinniss    

Dear Ms. O’Neill, Mr. Sabin, Mr. Zaslav, Mr. Ligouri and Mr. Burnett:                    

This law firm represents Joe McGinniss.  It has come to our attention that the first episode (titled "Mamma Grizzly") of the above referenced television show, scheduled to air on Sunday, November 14, 2010 at 9:00 PM on TLC, contains unauthorized videotaped images of Mr. McGinniss which were obtained without his knowledge or consent.  In addition, you have already placed a video clip containing this image of Mr. McGinniss on your website and it has been picked up and reproduced by the Huffington Post and many other online sites.

Mr. McGinniss was not asked if any production crew could videotape him as he read a book on the secluded deck of the house he was living in at that time.  He was not aware that any camera crew was in fact videotaping him.  Mr. McGinniss had a reasonable expectation of privacy under those circumstances.  The mere taking of the video therefore gives rise to an actionable claim for invasion of his privacy.  The publication of the video on your website and in the television show constitutes an additional wrong – the unauthorized use of the likeness of Mr. McGinniss.  Finally, the manner in which Ms. Palin describes Mr. McGinniss in the episode is defamatory: Mr. McGinniss has never invaded the Palins’ privacy, contrary to the many statements made by Ms. Palin and her husband, both prior to this television production, and now repeated in the episode referenced above.

DEMAND IS HEREBY MADE upon each of you that all images of Mr. McGinniss be removed from any television show produced by any of you, and removed from any website controlled or operated by any of you.   If you do not do so, Mr. McGinniss will be forced to pursue all his available remedies.  Please confirm in writing by November 12, 2010, to this office that you will remove these images.                    

Mr. McGinniss reserves all of his rights.                    

If you would like to discuss any of the above, contact this office.           

Very truly yours,                                                                                                       
Dennis Holahan

David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post.