WATCH: Hailey Clauson Photog Defends Himself (Poorly) On GMA
Jason Lee Parry, the photographer behind the now infamous image of then 15-year-old Hailey Clauson perched open-legged on top of a motorcycle, stopped by Good Morning America to defend himself against allegations made in a $28 million lawsuit filed by Clauson’s parents. Clauson’s parents are arguing that the image — which is currently featured on t-shirts produced by Blood Is The New Black and for sale at Urban Outfitters — portrays “a child in a sexually suggestive manner and may be in violation of one or more federal and/or state laws.” Parry says that it’s all in the eye of the beholder.
Parry told ABC’s Ryan Owens, “She posed herself. She’s a professional model.” As for the potentially pornographic aspect of the image, “I didn’t see it that way and I think if people do, it’s kind of bad on them,” he argued. “Because I look at it and I think, ‘This is a really cool shot.’” Parry also readily admitted that Clauson’s father was not present while that exact image was taken and was unable to confirm whether or not her father approved it specifically: “I flipped through the camera and I can truly say I don’t know which ones he saw. I know he was happy.”
So how does Parry’s case fit in with the lawsuit as a whole? Well, it’s complicated.
To recap: Parry claims that Ford, Clauson’s agency at the time of the shoot, approved the images for editorial inclusion in Qvest magazine and used the images in Clauson’s portfolio posted on their site. Parry also claims that he had no idea the image had been selected for printing and sale on a t-shirt. On the other hand, Blood Is The New Black owner Mitra Khayyam emailed us over the weekend to explain that the image is one of several shots by Parry which were “delivered to us … with the sole purpose of producing tee shirts and marketing them to our network of stores worldwide.” Khayyam says that neither she, nor her staff nor anyone at Urban Outfitters was aware that Parry didn’t get a release form for the photo.
If the lawsuit was simply focused on the rights to the image — in this case, editorial versus commercial — Clauson’s parent’s might have a better case. However, Clauson’s parents’ suit seems to be predicated on the fact that the image in use is “blatantly salacious” — the fact that it was allegedly previously approved for publication notwithstanding. We’re curious to see how this will all play out in an actual court, but either way, Parry didn’t do himself any favors with this interview. Take a look, below:
Model’s Parents Sue Urban Outfitters For $28M Over Racy T-Shirt
Maker Of Racy Teen Model T-Shirt Didn’t Know The Image Was Unauthorized
Photog Responsible For Racy Hailey Clauson T-Shirt Pic Strikes Back