SJC sides with Barstool Sports in dispute with Somerville mayor
Blogger falsified identity while interviewing Curtatone
THE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT on Monday rejected Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone’s argument that a Barstool Sports reporter violated the law when the reporter recorded an interview with Curtatone while lying about his identity.
In 2019, amid a public dispute between the progressive mayor and the crass sports blog, Barstool Sports host Kirk Minihane requested an interview with Curtatone and was turned down. Minihane then requested an interview again, falsely identifying himself as Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen. Curtatone agreed to the interview.
On June 6, 2019, Minihane interviewed Curtatone, altering his voice to sound like Cullen. At the beginning of the call, Minihane asked permission to record the interview, which Curtatone granted. Minihane recorded the interview and posted it on the Barstool Sports blog.
Massachusetts law requires both parties to consent to an audio recording. Secret recordings are illegal. Curtatone sued Minihane, arguing that he did not consent to the recording since he believed that he was talking to Cullen, not Minihane. He says Minihane “secretly” recorded the conversation because his identity was a secret.
While Curtatone tried to claim that Minihane violated his right to privacy, the court said as a big city mayor who believed he was speaking on the record to a newspaper reporter, “the Commonwealth’s interest in protecting his privacy is significantly limited.”