Whatever, Anna's attorneys fight back:
Tuesday, May 7
Kournikova seeking damages in excess of $10M
By Darren Rovell
Attorneys representing Anna Kournikova filed a lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of the 20-year-old Russian tennis star against the publishers of Penthouse Magazine.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, claims the magazine featured a 13-photo spread of a topless woman the publication promoted as Kournikova, portraying the tennis player in a false light, invading her privacy and defaming her name.
"This case concerns a magazine so desperate for circulation that it trumpeted to the world a total fabrication that it was printing nude photographs of international tennis star Anna Kournikova when, in reality, the photographs depicted someone else," the lawsuit states.
"(Penthouse) exploited and misappropriated Anna Kournikova's good and valuable name, image and likeness in the basest, most humiliating way for its own crass commercial purposes."
Kournikova's attorneys are seeking damages in excess of $10 million and demand the magazine to destroy all plates and molds regarding the "Kournikova" article and photos.
Kournikova's lawsuit follows the lawsuit filed in U.S District Court in New York by Judith Soltesz-Benetton, the woman who says the photos are of her and were taken about seven years ago on a beach in Miami. Soltesz-Benetton, whose father-in-law is the famous fashion designer Luciano Benetton, also seeks damages in excess of $10 million.
On Monday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin issued a temporary restraining order against Penthouse that required the publication to cease distributing more copies and putting the "Kournikova" pictures on the publication's Web site.
"The way Penthouse has used this shows me Penthouse doesn't really care whether it's true or not, only whether it sells issues and get people to the Web site," Chin said.
In a statement issued Tuesday under the headline "Penthouse Apologizes," the adult magazine claims it was led to believe the pictures were genuinely of Kournikova.
"We deeply regret this unintentional error and offer heartfelt apologies to both women," the statement said. "In over 30 years of publishing this magazine, we have never made an error of anything approaching this magnitude. We can only say, 'We're sorry' to the two women."
"Their apology is as fake as the photos," Octagon spokesman David Schwab told ESPN.com on Tuesday night.
According to Kournikova's suit, the tennis player was "distressed, embarrassed and angered" over the issue.