Playboy Channel Suit Seeks Compensation for ‘Great Pain’

Dec 2, 2008 3:00 PM PST
WARWICK, R.I. — A Rhode Island couple and two of their minor daughters claim that Verizon Communications should pay for current and future medical bills because it provided access to the Playboy Channel.

Plaintiffs Robert Bourne, Denise Roy and daughters Elice Roy and Danielle Bourne filed a complaint in Kent Superior Court claiming that Verizon should not have allowed access to the pay-per-view channel and that as a result of the “unreasonable intrusion,” they “have suffered and will continue to suffer from great pain, anxiety, nervousness and mental anguish.”

The Playboy Channel was transmitted into their home when it had not been requested and that Verizon “was inattentive and did not take reasonable steps to monitor its equipment,” plaintiffs said.

“Between March 2008 and August 2008, plaintiffs continually notified [Verizon] of the unauthorized transmissions into the premises, notified the defendants of the harm that was being caused and requested [Verizon] cease and desist the unauthorized transmissions of sexually explicit hardcore pornography in the premises,” the suit said.

The plaintiffs in the suit called the Playboy Channel “patently offensive,” despite its softer nature compared to other adult entertainment channels, and that Verizon unlawfully exhibited indecent and obscene motion pictures in violation of Rhode Island laws.

“The Playboy Channel includes sexually explicit hardcore pornography that contains audio and visual depictions of sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, and/or oral penetration, between the partners of the same sex and/or of different sexes,” the suit said.

The plaintiffs in the case, as well as their Westerly, R.I., attorney, Gregory P. Massad, did not respond to XBIZ calls for comment; Verizon Communications officials would not comment on the case.

Verizon is breaking Rhode Island’s obscenity statutes §§ 11-31-1 and 11-31-10, which outlaw promotion of obscene material and the distribution of “naked” content to minors, according the complaint.

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