Africa

South Africa's Puddles the Clown wins case against FHM

  • 6 June 2013
  • From the section Africa
Norman Pudney Image copyright Action Entertainment and Events
Image caption The entertainer says he acted out of conviction

South African clown Norman Pudney has won a defamation suit against men's magazine FHM after it printed his picture with a report likening jesters to cross-dressing drug addicts.

A court ruled that FHM used the image of Mr Pudney, known as Puddles the Clown, "intentionally and maliciously".

It awarded Mr Pudney, a clown for about 30 years, $6,000 (£3,900) in damages.

He told the BBC he sued FHM to defend a "profession that is meant to be well-received".

FHM has not commented.

'Negative impact'

Its South Africa edition used a stock image of Mr Pudney in 2007 with an article, which said clowns and car guards often resembled "grown men with long-term tik [a local word to describe crystal methamphetamine] habits, dressed like transvestites from hell."

The Western Cape High Court ruled that FHM had breached its contract with Masterfile Corporation, from whose database it took the picture, by using the photo "intentionally and maliciously", South Africa's Cape Times newspaper reports.

Mr Pudney told the BBC he was pleased to have won the case after a battle of about five years.

"It wasn't about the money for me but it was about protecting the industry and artists in the future," he said

"I believed in what I was fighting for. It has been an interesting and challenging experience."

Mr Pudney's lawyer Sean Rapaport said the "photo, in isolation, is not defamatory", Cape Times reports.

"The negative impact comes from the context, when people pick up a magazine and recognise him," Mr Rapaport is quoted as saying.

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