Personal photos of the Queen of pop could land someone in legal trouble.
On February 11th 2012 pop diva Whitney Houston’s life came to a tragic end, the 48 year old was found submerged in the bathtub of her Beverly Hills hotel room, according to TMZ. In the weeks following her death I sat down with one of her close childhood friends Pam Hodge to talk about growing up in the small city of East Orange, New Jersey. Today Pam is dealing with the loss of a close friend and says, “Knowing that I am not going to see her here is sad.”
Whitney Houston got her start singing in church at New Hope Baptist Church says Hodge. Thanks to Clive Davis who discovered Houston in the New York Night Club in 1983 the world was able to hear Whitney’s amazing voice according to whitneyhouston.com. During her life the star often referred to as “The Voice” was put through the ringer with her personal life. Allegation of drug use and blows at her personal life shadowed the star most of her career and in 2002 she sat down with ABC’s Diane Sawyer and talked about her life at that point in time.
The biggest blow in my opinion came after her death; The National Enquirer released a picture of the mega star in her coffin. According to the Huffingtonpost.com, “the unauthorized picture shows Houston lying in a golden coffin, and wearing a purple dress.” This is why I chose to look at intrusion. According to cvc.sunysb.edu Intrusion is, “One who intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his private affairs or concerns, is subject to liability for invasion of privacy, if the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.” The person or persons responsible for taking and selling the picture to the Enquirer could and should be sued for intrusion. The picture was taken inside Whigham Funeral Home. The photo was believed to be during the families’ private funeral service one day before her televised funeral at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark. Miralda Charles a New Jersey native grew up listening to “The Voice” and says, “Her passing has been one of the biggest blows to the music industry and to know that someone would disrespect her family by sharing such a private moment with the world.”
One of the elements needed to claim intrusion is if incident caused, “mental anguish or suffering to the plaintiff,” according to citmedialaw.org. According to a Fox News poll over 100,000 readers weighed in on the National Enquirer cover. “Forty percent of FoxNews.com readers said that the Enquirer publishing the photographs was a shame, but par for the course for them. Thirty-seven percent said that it was reprehensible and 21 percent said they saw absolutely nothing wrong with it.” Even though Houston has pasted her family could file a defamation of character suit and possibly win. The only issue in this case is that the responsible party has not come forward or been discovered; only time will tell.
Pam also shared her opinion about the private picture being released, “I am glad they did it, it gave me some kind of closure.”
She also said she thinks about “Nippy” all the time and recently was at the movies and was happy to see her face on the big screen in the upcoming remake of Sparkle.
Today the crowds at Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, New Jersey are gone, but her voice will live in forever. Take a look at video from New Hope Baptist Church in the days following her death.