A mother who enters her five-year-old daughter in beauty pageants and participates in the reality television show Toddlers and Tiaras has sued three media outlets for defamation for apparently criticizing her mothering skills.
Susanna Barrett filed the Toddlers and Tiaras lawsuit against TMZ, Huffington Post, and Daily Mail after the three news outlets criticized her for having young Isabella Barrett parade around a stage singing the lyrics to "I'm Sexy and I Know It" while reportedly "gyrating," reports the New York Post.
Barrett does not deny that her daughter was on the stage. Nor does she deny that the five-year-old was singing a song about being sexy. Instead, the mother denies the reports that she acted as a disc jockey (another person was the DJ), that the event happened at a club (it was a restaurant), and that her daughter was gyrating (she was sitting), reports the Post.
As a result, Barrett says that she and her daughter suffered harm because they were subject to ridicule and her daughter was sexualized in the media. To win her defamation claim, Barrett would have to show that a published statement was made that was false and caused her injury.
Assuming the statements to be false, Barrett may still have a hard time showing that the incorrect statements actually caused her injury. A lot of the outrage over the "I'm sexy and I know it" performance may have been due to the fact that the five-year-old was singing this song at all, and not so much the venue or whether the little girl was sitting or standing.
In addition, Susanna Barrett willingly thrust her girl into the public eye by participating in Toddlers and Tiaras, which focuses on the apparent ridiculousness of entering toddlers in beauty contests. If the mother was so afraid of publicizing or sexualizing her daughter, she might have reconsidered participating in the show in the first place.
Susanna Barrett brought a Toddlers and Tiaras lawsuit against three media outlets that essentially criticized her mothering skills. Even if the media outlets were factually incorrect in small ways, the Barretts may have a hard time proving injury as their appearance on the show may work against them.
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