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Friday, June 21, 2024 | Back issues
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Court Dismisses $10M Sex Tape Rumor Lawsuit

(CN) - The wife of Gregg Hughes - aka Opie of XM Radio's "The Opie & Anthony Show" - cannot sue the tipster behind a gossip item that accused her of making a sex tape with Bam Margera of MTV's "Jackass," a New York appeals court ruled.

In April 2008, the New York Post's Page Six column reported that Margera had sold a sex tape starring him and Hughes' then-fiancée Lynsi Smigo.

Page Six had attributed the rumor to an article that Hayden was writing for the celebrity weekly. Steppin' Out never actually published the article, however, and Hayden wrote the following week that the story was killed since he could not get confirmation about the rumor from Hughes and Margera. This information appeared in an article that bore the headline "Asshole of the Week."

After Margera and Smigo denied the rumor, Smigo slapped a $10 million slander suit against Page Six reporter Richard Johnson, NYP Holdings, Collins Communications ta Steppin' Out Magazine and Steppin' Out publisher Steven P. Dowsett aka Chaunce Hayden.

Johnson and NYP were previously dismissed from the suit, and the New York County Supreme Court dismissed Hayden and the magazine in March 2010.

The justices of the Supreme Court's first department appeals court upheld that ruling on Jan. 20, finding that the article that Steppin' Out and Hayden ultimately published did not contain any defamatory statements about Smigo.

"Once defendants moved for summary judgment and submitted Hayden's affidavit in which he stated that he had told a reporter that he had not seen the alleged tape of the plaintiff, the burden then shifted to plaintiff to establish that he had indeed uttered the words in a Post article to a third party by competent evidence, which plaintiff failed to do," the unsigned opinion states.

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