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    January 26, 2008

    A legal headache for PlanetOut

    Posted by: Chris

    Specialtypubsmailer The good folks at PlanetOut just can't catch a break. Fresh off of news that management is pursuing the sale of the company comes word of a bizarre lawsuit out of east Tennessee involving an angry father who claims his daughter opened a gay porn mailer from PlanetOut's softcore Specialty Publications division.

    You can imagine how fair (not) the coverage of the lawsuit was on local TV:

    Think about this. Your young son or daughter gets a big white envelope addressed to them. They open it, only to find homosexual porn. A Powell dad says it happened to him, and his daughter. He's mad and he's taking action. …

    Kent Blackwelder and his attorney filed a lawsuit alleging Specialty Publications sent unsolicited mail with nude pictures inside to his daughter. Blackwelder says he wants to make the magazine company pay and make changes that could keep your family with having to deal with a similar problem.

    (Video of the story, including grainy black-and-white of the flyer, is here.) Buried in the report are important details, like the envelope was addressed to the father, not the daughter and contained a clear warning of sexually explicit content in an interior envelope containing the flyer.

    But Specialty Pubs, which publishes Men (previously Advocate Men), Freshmen, Unzipped and other softcore titles, may have given the Blackwelders just enough wiggle room to bring their ridiculous $3.8 million claim. It seems the exterior envelope was not labelled as well,something the father claims is required by U.S. Postal Service regulations.

    Either way, this is one headache that PlanetOut doesn't need right now.

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