COMMENT: Arrington v. New York Times Company 1 : A Missed Opportunity to Recognize a Constitutional Right to Privacy of Personality. Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1983 Howard University
Howard Law Journal

COMMENT: Arrington v. New York Times Company 1 : A Missed Opportunity to Recognize a Constitutional Right to Privacy of Personality.


26 How. L.J. 1579





Clarence W. Arrington, an attractive, well-dressed Black businessman, was walking down a street in Manhattan one day in 1978 when, without his knowledge or consent , his photograph was taken by a freelance photographer, Gianfranco Gorgoni. Arrington, at that time a financial analyst for General Motors, had done nothing to attract attention or to make himself a newsworthy figure. Gorgoni was working on an assignment for The New York Times to shoot pictures of middle-class Blacks to illustrate an upcoming article. Arrington fit the description. 2

Arrington continued to know nothing of the matter until Sunday, December 3,1978, when he discovered his photograph emblazoned prominently on the cover of The New York Times Magazine. 3 Superimposed on his picture was the headline: "The Black Middle Class: Making It" and the headline of an unrelated story, "Christmas Pleasures: Giving the Best." In author William Brashler's article on the growing Black middle class, Arrington was not quoted or mentioned in any way; the article contained no reference to his photograph having been snapped at random. 4 Arrington was furious. Not only did he resent having been photographed for publication without permission; he strongly disagreed with the tone of Brashler's article, which depicted the Black middle class as a materialistic lot preoccupied with expensive cars and rapidly distancing itself from poor Blacks. Arrington felt that those views would necessarily be attributed to him, and indeed some of his friends and acquaintances did criticize him for espousing those opinions. 5 Finally, ...
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