Danni Ashe Sues Over Pic Used in HIV Porn-Performer Story
LOS ANGELES — Former adult star Danni Ashe never tested positive for HIV, but her image was depicted in a Daily Mail article that broke the news to readers that performer Cameron Bay tested positive for HIV, according to a $3 million lawsuit filed this week.
Ashe, a softcore sensation in the prime days of the online adult boom, says in her suit that millions of readers saw the Aug. 22 Daily Mail Online article, posted under the headline "Porn Industry shuts down with immediate effect after 'female performer' tests positive for HIV."
Ashe claims in that the Daily Mail of London never sought permission to use her image and didn't include any disclaimer that she was not the HIV-positive performer in question. The suit says that Ashe "has never tested positive for the HIV virus, nor has she ever had the HIV virus, nor has she ever been a performer in the hardcore pornographic film industry."
Ashe, the suit says, is allegedly depicted "posing on a bed in lingerie in a provocative manner," accompanied with the caption, "Moratorium: The porn industry in California was shocked on Wednesday by the announcement that a performer had tested HIV positive."
The Daily Mail Online later removed Ashe's picture but did not respond to her demand to publish a retraction, according to the suit filed at Los Angeles federal court.
Ashe also claims the story and her image were syndicated worldwide.
Ashe's attorney, Steven Weinberg, told XBIZ that the Daily Mail committed an injurious foul in sensationalistic fashion.
"The Daily Mail could have easily avoided injuring Ms. Ashe by telling its readers up front that she was not the 'female performer' who had tested positive for HIV but it chose not to in order to sensationalize the story at Ms. Ashe's expense," Weinberg told XBIZ.
"Ms. Ashe was extremely saddened to learn that a young actress had contracted the disease but also dismayed the Daily Mail would act so recklessly in telling the story. Ms. Ashe's sympathies go out to Ms. Bay."
The softcore star founded Danni's Hard Drive in 1995 and later was known as the "most downloaded woman on the Internet."
Penthouse Media Group Inc. purchased her companies, Danni Ashe Inc. and Video Bliss Inc., for $3 million in 2006.
The acquisition included Danni.com, DannisHotBox.com and DannisHardDrive.com — all known for busty models, live webcasts and girl-girl videos.