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This Aussie teen is suing the media for mocking his mullet

27th October 2016

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Whilst memes bring us a whole lot of joy, being on the receiving side of things is a very different story.

That is exactly what teenager Ali Ziggi Mosslmani – “Ziggy” – found out when he became an internet sensation last year.

After this picture hit the web, a whole barrage of memes were created mocking his unique hairstyle.

(Jnoodles Photography/Jeremy Nool)

Ziggy has since filed defamation suits against the Daily Mail, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and the Australian Radio Network for publishing the photograph and making fun of his mullet. His lawyers said he had been defamed as “hideously ugly” thanks to the coverage.

At the preliminary hearing, judge Judith Gibson said comments about his hair were humorous and that does not mean they were saying Ziggy is ugly.

“The plaintiff’s striking mullet haircut has generated a great deal of interest on the internet, most of it humorous, and some of it in the form of clever observations, such as the ‘Pythagoras’ direction in one of the memes,” she said.

The judge said the “closest any such picture gets to suggesting there is anything unattractive (as opposed to ridiculous) in the plaintiff’s appearance is the photograph where a skunk has been added to the plaintiff’s head”.

Australian courtroom
(Robert Cianflone/AP)

Gibson said: “However, these Photoshopped images need to be viewed in context of the whole of the [article]… Viewed as a whole the matter complained of is commenting about his hairstyle being ridiculous, and this is not the same as saying that the plaintiff is ugly.

“The plaintiff has not been compared to Frankenstein, or some other hideously ugly figure; his haircut has been criticised as ridiculous,” Gibson said.

She said the case was “overpleaded” and appeared to be designed to “claim as many imputations as possible while simultaneously avoiding a defence of honest opinion or justification”.

The only imputation Gibson accepted Ziggy was entitled to plead was that “the plaintiff is a ridiculous person because he wears a controversial haircut”.

The full judgment can be seen here. The case will return to court on November 17.

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