A wayward e-mail wound up in my in-box by mistake. I’m glad I’m not in trouble for this one – lawyers make me nervous.
To: Officials of the Wildlife Conservation Society
Re: Invasion of Privacy
Dear Wildlife Conservation Society Administrators,
I’m an attorney in private practice representing a number of parties whose images were captured by your organization on a video recording, and then distributed worldwide via the Internet without the knowledge and permission of my clients.
My clients, a severely endangered band of Cross River Gorillas, are, as you know, famed for being reclusive overall and distinctive among wild animals for the many ways in which they are NOT seen. That is their lifestyle and their choice, and also a matter of logistics and math, given that there are only about 250 Cross River Gorillas left in the world.
Your wanton and widespread distribution of the video, embedded below, violates the privacy of my clients and what is more, it severely diminishes what was their expected legacy – to vanish without being seen in the wild by most people, ever.
While it may seem harmless to you, this clandestine observation, recording, and then distribution without permission of the above images is embarrassing in the extreme, both for the aimless way my clients seem to be wandering around in front of the camera (naked!), and also for the humiliating sound made by the Silverback as he makes his charge about midway in the video.
I assure you that when he started pounding his chest in an impromptu display of exuberance, he was going for something more like an awe inspiring BOOM! BOOM! rather than the cartoonish pop! pop! he was able to produce. For a dominant male, this is humiliating in the extreme. I’m sure, had you politely asked for his permission to share these impulsive antics with the world, he would have broken your arm or thrown clumps of grass in your face as a way of saying “no”. But of course you did not ask!
We will not even discuss some of the other issues that rankle, such as the unflattering camera angle taken on one client as she rested against a tree and the blatant calling of attention to the disability of another. Have you no shame? What ever happened to dignity?
While I have not yet met with my clients (they are elusive), I hope to have a conference very soon, after which I will be in touch with a list of demands that, should you wish to avoid a costly lawsuit, you would be well advised to take very, very seriously.
Though I’m sure you had the best intentions, the mere ability to place an unobtrusive camera somewhere and record someone’s casual walk through the woods does not automatically make it the right thing to do. Though it my fervent hope that you will never, ever see my clients again, I assure you that you have NOT heard the last of us!
A.P. Magilla, Attorney at Law
Where would you take a group of friends for a casual, if not private, stroll?