2 NYC Lawsuits Stem From Stigma of Adult Content

Q Boyer
NEW YORK — Two lawsuits filed in Manhattan this month appear to be founded upon the notion that merely being associated with the production of adult content is damaging to the reputation and professional future of anyone accused of such an association.

Last week, it was announced that a physical therapist named Marty Jaramillo had filed suit in Manhattan Supreme Court against the upscale spa Essential Therapy, alleging that the spa’s owner, Carlos Araque, had rented out his space for swingers parties and porn video shoots, and sullied Jaramillo’s reputation in the process.

In another lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, filmmaker Nesya Shapiro Blue is suing Amazon.com because the company’s online movie database, IMDB.com, incorrectly identified her as the director of two adult films, “Fantasy in Blue” and “Dreams of Candace Heart.”

The lawsuits underscore how any association with the production of adult content carries a strong negative connotation for much of American society, despite the much discussed mainstreaming of adult entertainment in recent years.

Although documents from the case have not been added to the online access system maintained by the New York court system, according to various New York-based media sources, Jaramillo is seeking $52,000 in direct damages and $500,000 in punitive damages from Essential Therapy and Araque.

According to Jaramillo’s lawsuit, he originally sublet a space from Araque because Araque “represented that he was a duly licensed massage therapist, that his reputation as that of Essential was stellar,” and that being associated with the spa would be good for Jaramillo’s physical therapy business.

Other legal troubles and accusations leveled against Araque caused Jaramillo to rethink whether being associated with Essential and Araque was a good thing, however. After moving into his space at the spa, Jaramillo was reading the New York Post one day when he spotted a story stating that Araque had been arrested for allegedly penetrating a female client with his finger and performing oral sex on her after she fell asleep on the massage table during a session with Araque.

Araque was charged with a felony in connection to the incident, for giving massages without a proper license.

Mary Margaret Looby, Jaramillo’s attorney, told the Post that Jaramillo was “livid” when he saw the story in the paper.

“He felt betrayed,” Looby said. “He was beside himself.”

According to the lawsuit, Jaramillo soon learned that the spa was being rented out for “sex swing parties and adult pornographic photo/film shoots.”

Jaramillo moved out of his space at Essential in April, according to the Post. His attorney said that Jaramillo “never would have gone into the space in the first place had he been aware of any of the shenanigans going on.”

Araque and his attorney both denied the allegations, and Araque said that Jaramillo merely is trying to get out of paying penalties for breaking his lease.

“He’s saying we have illegal sex parties and all this stuff, which isn’t true,” Araque said. “We rented [the spa] out to one movie. It had nothing to do with pornography.”

Sarita Kedia, an attorney for Araque, called the allegations “absolutely false” and said that Araque “runs a perfectly legitimate spa.”

In the case naming Amazon.com as a defendant, Nesya Shapiro Blue claims that the inaccurate listing on IMDB.com has cost her thousands in business opportunities and has “severely tarnished” her reputation. As a result of that tarnishing, Blue is seeking $2.15 million in damages in her lawsuit.

“Fantasy in Blue” and “Dreams of Candace Heart,” both 1991 titles, were directed by another woman surnamed Blue — adult director Nancy Blue. Nesya Blue, on the other hand, once worked on a documentary entitled “Against Pornography,” as well as the children’s movie “Toby the Tug.”