Lawsuit of the week: Anti-sexual violence advocate suing Georgia Straight for wrongful use of image in dating ads

Entrepreneur Devon Brooks is suing Vancouver Free Press Publishing Corp., the company behind the Georgia Straight newspaper, and Executive Search Dating Inc. for allegedly using ...
Entrepreneur Devon Brooks is suing Vancouver Free Press Publishing Corp., the company behind the Georgia Straight newspaper, and Executive Search Dating Inc. for allegedly using images of her in dating service advertisements without permission.

Brooks filed a notice of civil claim in BC Supreme Court on November 17. She claims the defendants began using her copyrighted images in November 2015 in marketing and promotional materials both online and in print.

She claims she was notified by “inquiries made to her by her peers, colleagues and acquaintances” and sent Executive a cease-and-desist demand on November 19, 2015. The company removed the photos from its website, but “the print publications continued,” the claim states.

“The plaintiff has spent many years assiduously cultivating her professional brand, a brand and reputation which is antithetical to the manner in which the publications portrayed her,” the claim states. “The plaintiff has been a victim of sexual violence. She has become a prominent advocate and speaker on women’s rights. The publications portrayed the plaintiff in a manner fundamentally inconsistent with how she is regarded in the community.”

Brooks seeks damages for breach of privacy and defamation.

On the same day Brooks filed suit, Alexander Dow, a former advertising sales employee of Vancouver Free Press Publishing Corp., sued the company and several others for breach of employment contract. Dow claims he started with the paper in 1993 and was fired on November 20, 2015, for alleged causes that were “untrue, humiliating and defamatory.”

The allegations in both Dow’s and Brooks’ suits have not been tested or proven in court, and the defendants had not responded to the claim by press time.

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