Photographer faces law suit

Started Aug 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
santamonica812 Contributing Member • Posts: 866
Re: You guys didn't answer my question.

Clyde Thomas wrote:

I shoot women's lingerie.

Should I be forced to shoot a 90 year old super obese woman in lingerie if I'm uncomfortable with doing so?

It's not about the style. It's about the type of person that I would not want to shoot or have my reputation associated with. Women in lingerie is a regular part of my business. Should I be forced to shoot any woman who requested it?

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Here to help. Here to learn.

What question are you asking?  (1) Can I currently be "forced" through the legal process to shoot this?  (in other words, are you asking, "What is the current law?")?  Or (2) Is it moral to force me to shoot this?

The Legal Answer.  I believe that in all 50 states, you would be permitted to turn down this assignment.  We are allowed to discriminate, unless there is some law or regulation that forbids this.  For race, religion, disability etc., you cannot discriminate in any United States area.  Without going into a long Constitutional Law analysis, this is largely due to the Equal Protection clause.  So far, the US Supreme Court has not found that being old or fat are protected classes, and there has been no law passed by Congress (as it did with the Americans with Disabilities Act) that covers these two groups.

Now, many states have passed their own laws.  In live in California, and our state's constitution (and other state-passed laws) also give anti-discrimination to many other groups.  Sexual Orientation is one example.  I think that California also forbids discrimination on the basis of age, but I also think this is limited to workplace and housing discrimination.  So, I think you are legally safe in saying "no thank you" to that 90 year old . . . or to a potential 11 year old client, for that matter.

Regarding weight, I think that there has been some talk about adding obesity to the protected classes.  (Probably under the ADA).  But I don't think there's been any federal protection, and I'm unaware of any state that has given such protection.  (I know this issue comes up fairly regularly, usually concerning the width of move theater and airplane seats.)

The Moral Answer.  This is tougher for me.  As the law stands, of course I think you (and I) should be forced . . . we are a nation of laws, even the ones you or I might not agree with.  But I do have sympathy for people saying, "Let me work with the people I want.", and this is especially true for people in the creative fields.

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