Gay sports Web site sued over marathon photo
August 20 2004 12:00 AM ET
*The gay-themed sports Web site Outsports.com is being sued by a North Carolina man after it featured his picture in its coverage of the Los Angeles Marathon. Chris Harbinson, a resident of Wake County, N.C., claims he was humiliated by the implication that he's gay. He's seeking damages against the site over a picture in which he appeared among 150 shots in its coverage of March 7's Los Angeles Marathon. Harbinson was a participant in the marathon; the photo shows him stretching and smiling for the camera. OutSports.com said in a statement that there was no caption included with the picture.
In the suit Harbinson is seeking damages in excess of $10,000 as well as punitive damages and legal fees. He claims he suffered "extreme embarrassment, public humiliation, mental agony, and damage to his name and reputation." Atlanta-based attorney Cynthia Counts is representing the Web site. She described the case as frivolous and totally without merit. The photographer who shot the picture was a credentialed member of the media covering the marathon, and Harbinson was participating in a public event, she said. Outsports even removed the picture from its site after receiving a cease-and-desist letter last April from Harbinson's lawyer, she added, in keeping with Outsports policy. Reached by phone, Harbinson's North Carolina attorney, Aaron C. Hemmings, declined to comment on the case.