You’re a 15 year old German girl surfing the internet at home when suddenly you spot your parents on a television channel’s website. Cool! Right? Not if the program they are featuring in is a documentary about swinging and has Mum caged, wearing nothing but suspenders and stockings and Dad wearing a Batman outfit brandishing a sex toy.
This is the sort of thing psychotherapists holiday homes are bought with. Unfortunately for the 15 year old girl in question it is precisely what happened to her while sitting at home in Munich when she happened across the footage of her parents on TV channel RTL’s website.
Her parents had voluntarily and consensually agreed to participate in the filming of the ‘lifestyle documentary‘ filmed at the Swinger’s Club attended by them and understood that it was for broadcast. They were also assured by the producers of the documentary that their faces would be pixelated once the documentary was finished so that they would not be recognised. Unfortunately for these broadminded folk the documentary aired without pixelation.
This is yet another example of the age old adage of ‘once it’s on film or in print or on the internet it’s out there forever‘. The genie is out of the bottle and much like trying to push the blue smoke back into the exploding motherboard there is nothing you can do to prevent the footage, offending remark, damning prose or other material published and broadcast from being further distributed, disseminated and seen…even by your 15 year old daughter.
Anyway, the stars of the show, the parents of the 15 year old ‘victim‘, took RTL to Court for failure to pixelate their features as had been represented to them but their daughter refused to appear in Court to testify and the judge dismissed the claim for compensatory damages for emotional upset and psychological harm and suggested that the production company and RTL Television pay the couple for their appearance in the documentary and pay their legal fees. The couple agreed to accept the equivalent of AUD$ 250 each plus legal costs.
So the moral of the story is think before you create a record of that intimate moment, send that ranting email, post that intemperate remark or facebook yourself drunk at the footy mooning the cheerleaders with your mates – whilst taking a sickie because you never know who might be watching and it’s out there forever.
This story has so much fail written all over it that epic is insufficient to describe the amount of fail it contains.
- Swinging Munich couple;
- Producers and RTL Television; and
- Whoever advised them to take this to Court have you never heard of the Streisand effect? Please!
All of you have contributed to this being so full of So Much Fail!
Also, your daughter’s future psychoanalyst thanks you in advance.