How leaked nude photos cost city model the Miss World Kenya title
City model Ms Roshanara Ebrahim was dethroned from her Miss World Kenya position in July after her ex-boyfriend sent her nude photos to the pageant organisers, court documents have revealed.
In the ruling, published on KenyaLaw.org, the model’s ex-boyfriend, Frank Zahlten, sent the photos to Ashleys Kenya chief executive officer Terry Mungai without the beauty queen’s knowledge.
For that, the court has ordered Mr Zahiten to pay the model Sh1 million for violating her rights to privacy.
CONTRAVENED CONTRACTUAL TERMS
In the judgment delivered last Wednesday, Mr Justice Edward Muriithi of the High Court’s Constitutional and Human Rights Division however declined to reinstate Ms Ebrahim as Miss World Kenya, stating that she contravened the pageant’s contractual terms.
Judge Muriithi however trashed an allegation against Ms Ebrahim that she was a drug user.
“It is not possible to determine from the photographs whether the petitioner is taking drugs. Only a proper criminal investigation may reveal the truth,” he said.
Reading through Justice Muriithi’s judgment, it emerges that Ms Mungai received an email containing Ms Ebrahim’s nude photos on July 28.
A day later, she released a media statement saying Ms Ebrahim had agreed to step down from her position.
“A grave situation has come to our attention that is in breach of our code of Conduct and our contract with the reigning Miss World Kenya 2016 Roshanara. We uphold a strict code of conduct that expects Beauty Queens to manage their public and private life,” Ms Mungai had stated in the widely-circulated statement.
Following her dethronement and the subsequent installation of Ms Evelyne Njambi as Miss World Kenya, Ms Ebrahim sued Ashleys Kenya, its CEO Terry Mungai, her ex-boyfriend Mr Zahlten and the newly-crowned Ms Njambi.
The court heard that Ms Ebrahim’s phone was stolen in Italy in April 2015. She said the theft could have been the source of leaked photos taken between 2013 and 2015.
Justice Muriithi also heard that there were photos taken in March 2016 whose leakage was not explained.
In the end, the judge found that Ms Ebrahim posed for the nudes and in some cases took selfies and sent the photos to Mr Zahlten who was her boyfriend at the time.
“It was urged that the petitioner (Ms Ebrahim) had waived her right to privacy by taking the subject photographs by a communication gadget as selfies and voluntarily sending them to the 3rd Respondent (Mr Zahlten) using a communication gadget,” reads the judgment.
Judge Muriithi stated that much as the photos were voluntarily taken and shared, Ms Ebrahim did not authorize for publication or sharing. That is the reason he punished her ex.
“On a balance of probabilities having regard to the email communication attached in the replying affidavit of the 1st and 2nd Respondent (Ashley’s and Ms Mungai) indicating that the photographs were forwarded to the 2nd respondent (Ms Mungai) by the 3rd respondent (Mr Zahlten), I find that it is the 3rd respondent (Mr Zahlten) who published the private photographs of petitioner to the 2nd respondent,” the judge said.
BREACH OF PRIVACY
Ms Ebrahim’s plea that Ms Mungai and Ashleys be declared to have breached her privacy was turned down, as Justice Muriithi found that it was Mr Zahlten who forwarded the nudes to them after a bitter break-up.
The ex-boyfriend defended his move, arguing that Ms Ebrahim was a public figure and had not conducted herself in a manner befitting the holder of the Miss World title.
He said he had forwarded the photos as a matter of public interest but the judge did not buy his argument.
“(Mr Zahlten) will pay to the petitioner damages for violation of her rights to privacy in the sum of Sh1,000,000/- (Kenya Shillings One Million),” ordered the judge.
TERMINATION OF CONTRACT
The court found that the termination of the contract between Ashleys and Ms Ebrahim was lawful as she had gone against the agreed terms.
Clause 3.11 of the Mr and Miss World Kenya 2016 Contestant Management Agreement (the management contract) entered between Ms Ebrahim and Ashleys dated January 22, 2016 says: “The contestant will not engage in any photographic sessions with any third party without the prior consent of the principal and will take all such steps as are reasonably necessary to ensure that her image rights are protected.”
Justice Muriithi noted: “Entry rules for the national contestants as shown in the Entry Agreement for the global Miss World event 2016 stipulate that the winner must warrant under Schedule D (o) (ii) to Miss World Limited ‘that she has never permitted any offensive, indecent, immoral or nude or semi-nude photographs of her to be taken.’”
In his final words of the judgment, the judge ordered that the photos of Ms. Ebrahim that had been provided before court be expunged from the court record to protect her privacy.