FAIR LAWN, New Jersey, USA — A US woman is suing after a breast-feeding instructional video she made with her month-old daughter was combined with pornographic footage and posted online.
"It was terrifying," said MaryAnn Sahoury, who said she had seen an opportunity to help women who had trouble getting their babies to nurse.
Last week, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled that a lawsuit Sahoury filed against Meredith Corporation a media and marketing company that shot and produced the video for Parents TV, could proceed.
The lawsuit claims Sahoury was verbally assured her full name would not be used in the video; instead, it displayed Sahoury's full name on screen, the suit said. Meredith claims Sahoury signed a release on behalf of herself and her daughter allowing the company to use their "image, voice and name."
"While Meredith is not responsible for this," the company said in a statement, "we deeply regret that this has occurred to Ms Sahoury and her family."
When her daughter was born in December 2009, Sahoury had trouble nursing and used a lactation consultant. The following month, the consultant asked Sahoury if she wanted to appear in an instructional video to talk about her experiences and demonstrate nursing techniques.
"I didn't get paid to do this. I didn't want to be some sort of celebrity," said Sahoury, 35. "I did this to help other moms."
In July 2010, Sahoury — who had not yet seen the video — Googled herself. She found numerous links to pornographic sites and videos containing her name. She clicked on one and saw the video edited to include a woman with "similar features and stature" performing sex acts. Sahoury then Googled her infant daughter's name, and the search returned pornographic links.
The lawsuit claims the video was posted on YouTube, when Sahoury was told it would only appear on Parents TV and cable. The video has since been removed from all Meredith properties, including Parents TV, and YouTube, the company said.
In a statement, Meredith said it is "appalled" that the video was misused and it has hired lawyers to file take-down demands and Internet specialists to clear online caches. It continues to provide the services, the statement said.
Sahoury said she hopes her situation leads to a greater awareness of Internet safety.