Name: Sullivan vs. New York Times Co.

Date:  1951 - 1975

Location:  North America

SubjectPolitical/Economic/Social Opinion , Racial/Ethnic

MediumPrint Journalism

Artist: New York Times

Confronting Bodies: Sullivan, Police Chief of Montgomery, Alabama

Date of Action: 1964

Specific Location: Montgomery, Alabama

Description of Artwork:  A signed ad that appeared in the New York Times in support of civil rights marchers and criticized Sullivan, the segregationist Police Chief of Montgomery, Alabama, for his unfair treatment of the marchers.

Description of Incident: Sullivan sued the New York Times Co. and won massive damages equaling $500, 000 because of minor factual errors in the article.

Results of Incident: The Supreme Court reversed the libel judgment, saying that the First Amendment protected "uninhibited, robust, and wide-open" criticism of public officials, at least unless it could be proved that the critic was deliberately lying or showed "reckless disregard" for the truth.

Source: Sex, Sin and Blasphemy, Marjorie Heins, New Press,'93, NYC

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