A New York woman has been given permission to proceed with a lawsuit against the state for using her photo in an ad promoting the rights of HIV positive people.
Avril Nolan – who is HIV negative – is taking the case because HIV “continues to be a significant stigma” according to the Appellate Division First Department which has ruled in her favor.
Nolan alleges that the state improperly used her photo obtained through Getty Images in an advertisement.
We are making some, albeit slow, progress in tackling HIV stigma, but the idea that it's no longer rife can be rebutted by any HIV+ person's experience. Could have / should have used an HIV+ model: https://t.co/dVp3FFGUTe
— Matthew Hodson (@Matthew_Hodson) January 18, 2018
Nolan posed for the photograph in connection with an online article about the music interests of New Yorkers. The photographer later sold the image to Getty.
The ad, which ran in three newspapers and on three websites, used the tagline: “I am positive, I have rights.”
New York Daily News reports:
The state had argued that society’s acceptance of Charlie Sheen and Magic Johnson showed “HIV is no longer a shameful condition worthy of heightened treatment under the defamation laws,” according to the decision.
But the mid-level appeals court disagreed.
“A significant segment of society has been too slow in understanding that those who have the disease are entitled to…the full embrace of society,” the court wrote in a unanimous decision.
Nolan, who runs a vintage clothing and jewelry company, said the ad affected her personally and professionally and made some encounters “uncomfortable,” according to papers.
The Appellate Division First Department noted the image license agreement prohibited its use in a way that would be “unflattering or controversial to a reasonable person.”
Getty has entered a confidential settlement with Nolan.
The case will now return to the Court of Claims.