In an aftermath
of the anthrax attack on the offices of the National Enquirer in
Florida which five years ago took the life of British photo editor
Robert Stevens, an American freelance photographer is suing for the
loss of his collection of celebrity pictures which were contaminated
and had to be destroyed as a result of the attack.
Mathieson, who was a regular contributor to the Enquirer and sister
titles The Star and The Globe, is claiming $2 million for the loss of
his pictures, according to the New York Sun.
collection included, he claims, ‘irreplaceable’photos of Princess Di,
the Kennedys, Frank Sinatra, the Clintons, and the funeral of Jackie
Onassis. There are about l,400 photos altogether. Mathieson, who now
covers the White House, claims that after the attack, for which no-one
was ever caught, American Media, publisher of The Enquirer, filed a
claim with its insurance company for damage to its offices in Boca
Raton including the loss of its equipment, files and archives which it
valued altogether at over $250 million.
insurance company ultimately paid American Media $17 million. Mathieson
is now demanding reimbursement for his lost pictures which were, he
says, his property not the publisher’s.
is claming that he had a long-standing agreement with American Media’s
photo department that he would be paid $l,500 for each of his photos in
the event of their loss. Although American Media is claiming the figure
is ‘grossly inflated’the photographer has testified that it is in line
with industry norms. A judge has ruled that although American Media was
not at fault for the loss of the pictures because the attack was an
‘unforeseeable criminal event”, he did give approval for the
photographer to proceed with his claim.