Nathalie De Clercq has filed suit against Time, Inc. for a story printed in People magazine that featured a photograph of her and implied that she had an adulterous relationship with Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, resulting in the end of his marriage.
The lawsuit alleges that Ms. De Clercq doesn’t even know Brin, and that the woman he had the affair with was Google Glass marketing manager, Amanda Rosenberg, whom she also does not know. The suit also names Corbis Corporation, and Splash News & Picture Agency, LLC as defendants.
According to the court documents obtained by TheWrap, De Clercq became involved with the story when a photograph of her riding a bicycle in New York was misidentified in People magazine as Rosenberg. The suit further alleges that the photo was licensed and published without De Clercq’s consent. She and Rosenberg are both Eurasian and have long, dark hair.
As detailed in the suit, Ms. De Clercq indicates she had no involvement at all in the alleged adulterous relationship between Brin and Rosenberg until People magazine involved her. She alleges that her attempts to start a new business have been “handicapped by being the object of ridicule and derision,” and that she personally has been “made an object of international ridicule.” DeClerq alleges that the defendants are liable for defamation and invasion of privacy.
De Clercq’s legal action comes as a result of an article entitled “Billion-Dollar Breakup?” that appeared in the September 16, 2013 issue of People magazine. The suit claims that the average reader would take from this story that Rosenberg has had sexual relations with two high-powered men, and used her “sexual wiles” to pursue the more successful of the two. The story featured two photographs, one of Brin and his wife and the other of De Clercq. It is this second photo of De Clercq that was misidentified as Rosenberg in the caption, leading to the alleged damage to De Clercq’s character and business ventures.
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The suit states that the photograph was taken candidly by Dave Spencer as De Clercq rode by him on her bicycle while wearing Google Glass, adding that Spencer is an agent or employee of Corbis and/or Splash News.
Corbis and/or Splash News then licensed and sold the photograph as a photograph of Rosenberg — none of which was done with De Clercq’s consent.
De Clercq is demanding no less than $2 million in compensatory damages and no less than $2 million in punitive damages, as well as legal fees and interest from the date of judgment until paid.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.