Allegations fly in porn lawsuit

Defendants complain about public comments while Aquinnah homeowner alleges ‘smear’ campaign.

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Leah Bassette, the owner of this home in Aquinnah, says it was used by a pornography company as a filming location without her permission.

An Aquinnah woman who says her house was rented and used by Mile High, a pornography production company, has amended her federal lawsuit, saying that since the original suit was filed in March, two of the co-defendants have engaged in a “smear” campaign against her on social media.

Leah Bassett, the woman who filed the suit, which alleges breach of contract among other things, says in the amended complaint that the social media posts have targeted her “reputation and character as a retaliatory response to her initiation of this lawsuit.”

Bassett’s original suit alleges alleges breach of contract, trespass, and copyright infringement, including the depiction of her own artwork in the porn films, as well as violation of the RICO Act. There is no set amount for the lawsuit, but Bassett seeks compensation for the use of her home for commercial use, as well as punitive damages for what was done to her home and her psyche.

The suit alleges that Bassett’s house was rented by Joshua Spafford and then used by Mile High Distribution to produce the sexually explicit pornography. The home was rented from Oct. 4, 2014, to May 15, 2015. At one point, Monica Jensen sublet the house from Spafford without the homeowner’s blessing, according to court documents.

Bassett’s amended complaint comes just two weeks after attorneys for the defendants filed a motion seeking a gag order against Bassett’s attorney, John Taylor, stating that the intent of Bassett and Taylor is to “prejudice the public against the defendants.”

The motion, signed by attorneys Stephen Roach and Natalie Megaloudis, makes reference to the MV Times having the story of the lawsuit first, and to a comment made by Taylor about his client feeling “the perceived need to ‘go public’ with her legal grievances.” Though The Times was first on the Cape and Islands with the story, it followed a story posted by blast.com, a website that focuses on celebrity news. The Times story was generated almost exclusively through federal court documents posted on Pacer, a database of federal court documents, a day after it was filed, and a brief interview with Taylor.

“Within a week of Attorney Taylor’s report to the Vineyard Times, the story went viral, and was published internationally,” the motion states, noting that news outlets in Canada and the U.K. carried the story.

In his rebuttal, Taylor writes that he did not initiate the interview with The Times. “In point of fact, neither she nor I had engaged in any communications with any members of the press prior to the lawsuit’s initiation …” his affidavit states. Taylor did acknowledge writing a blog entry on Zach Sire’s blog site on April 9.

The plaintiffs also take issue with statements made by Taylor comparing what occurred to the Catholic church scandal involving priests and “the attempted sexual assault and murder of 10-year-old Jeffrey Curley,” saying those references “defame Mile High and the other defendants.” Taylor further mischaracterizes Mile High’s films as “predatory-themed,” the motion for injunctive relief states.

No hearing dates have been announced in the case, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Boston.

Bassett’s amended complaint also adds two additional defendants to the lawsuit — William Gray and Fiore Joseph Barbini.

In her amended complaint, Bassett alleges that Monica Jensen, whose porn name is Nica Noelle, posted on Instagram that Bassett’s suit was motivated by “homophobia and transphobia.”

On March 30, Gray, whose porn name is Billy Santoro, posted an article on a blog called billyleakedit.com where he allegedly accused Zachary Sire, another blogger, and David Dixon of Str8upGayPorn of taking the side of Bassett, according to the complaint. “I will be watching closely as things play out and I will remember all who bashed the studio and sided with the homophobic plaintiff,” the complaint quotes the blog as stating.

Roach, the lead attorney for the defendants, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Taylor responded to an email, but declined comment.