Playboy learns the hard way not to let lawyers pose nude

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Playboy learns the hard way not to let lawyers pose nude

Tue Mar 31, 2009 @ 06:37PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Corri-fetman A magazine column titled "Lawyer of Love" couldn't possibly last. Sadly, the affair between Chicago attorney Corri Fetman and Playboy Enterprises has ended--appropriately, perhaps--with a lawsuit. 

Fetman has filed a $4.5 million lawsuit against Playboy alleging that Thomas Hagopian, an executive in the digital branch of the company, bombarded her with sexually explicit e-mails and phone calls, groped her, and killed her "Lawyer of Love" column when she rebuffed his advances.

The complaint was filed in Illinois civic court.

Fetman posed nude for Playboy in the February 2008 issue, which included a feature story on her. Later, Hagopian approached Fetman about writing an advice column, and he allegedly told her that he had the ability to "make her a star."

We can't say we're shocked this relationship ended in litigation. But it raises an interesting issue about what level of conduct is acceptable in a work environment like Playboy.

A few years ago, a former assistant on the show "Friends" filed a sexual harassment complaint against producers, and the case made it all the way up to the California Supreme Court. In that case, the Supreme Court determined that there should be some leeway in the lewd and crude behavior used in the production of bawdy entertainment.

"Friends" isn't nearly as explicit as Playboy, but the writers room on a sitcom is arguably a forum in which creative exchange is more necessary than the offices of a magazine, however racy. It will be interesting to see whether Playboy and Hagopian try to justify a little naughty, off-color behavior in the operations of an adult empire.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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