Filed by Ex-Madonna Beau Rejected
Gay-marriage Law Used by Judge in Dismissal
Globe, May 29, 2004
Box 2378, Boston, MA 02107
By Shelley Murphy, Globe Staff
A federal judge yesterday dismissed a lawsuit filed by a
former bodyguard and boyfriend of Madonna, rejecting his claim that a
photograph in a book and two publications was defamatory because it
misidentified him as a gay man.
US District Judge Nancy Gertner, relying in part on the
Supreme Judicial Court’s November ruling legalizing gay marriage, said that
being identified as gay is not defamatory.
“In 2004, a statement implying that an individual is a
homosexual is hardly capable of a defamatory meaning,” she wrote. “. . .
In fact, a finding that such a statement is defamatory requires this Court to
legitimize the prejudice and bigotry that for too long have plagued the
James Albright, who had a two-year relationship with
Madonna that began in the early 1990s, claimed his Boston-based security
business suffered because of a caption under a photograph of Madonna with a
gay man that wrongly identified Albright as that man.
In her 23-page opinion, Gertner said the SJC ruling and a
recent ruling by the US Supreme Court striking down sodomy laws “undermine
any suggestion that a statement implying that an individual is a homosexual is
Gertner dismissed the $1 million lawsuit that Albright
and Amrak Productions Inc., which had employed Albright as a bodyguard, filed
in 2002 against Andrew Morton, Madonna’s British biographer; Michael
O’Mara; Michael O’Mara Books Ltd.; St. Martin’s Press; Time Inc.; and
In his suit, Albright said that the photograph that ran
in the biography “Madonna,” in People Weekly in 2001, and in Newsgroup’s
international publication “News of the World” in 2002 was of Jose
Guitierez, a former employee of the singer.
The suit alleged that Guitierez was an outspoken
homosexual who “clearly represents his homosexual ideology in what many
would refer to as sometimes graphic and offensive detail.”
Guitierez appeared in the television documentary of
Madonna’s life, “Truth or Dare,” and also appeared with Madonna on two
Albright claimed in his suit that while appearing with
Madonna, Guitierez often dressed as a woman and engaged in acts on stage that
“some would find homosexual, sexually graphic, lewd, lascivious, offensive,
and possibly illegal.”
But Gertner wrote that in the photograph of Guitierez
that misidentified him as Albright, he was dressed in black pants, a shirt, a
black leather jacket, and was wearing tinted glasses, an earring, and a string
necklace with a pendant. “Nothing in the photograph suggests that he is
gay,” she wrote.
The judge also noted that the book devotes an entire
chapter to Albright’s affair with Madonna, describing their sexual
encounters, their desire to marry and have children, and Albright’s
“fling” with another woman that led to his breakup with Madonna.
The judge also said that even if the photograph suggested
Albright were homosexual, it would not discredit him or be considered
As for Albright’s claim that his business had suffered
damage, Gertner said he had not alleged any specific professional opportunity
that he had lost or professional criticism he had received because of the
“Without some specific claim of actual harm, he is
doing nothing more than trading in the same kinds of stereotypes that recent
case law and good sense disparage,” Gertner concluded.
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