Broadcast news personality Jane Pauley has sued The New York Times, saying she was misled to believe she was being interviewed for a mental health news article when she actually was being featured in an advertising supplement.
In a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Pauley seeks unspecified damages and to stop use of her name and image for advertising purposes.
Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis said Wednesday she did not believe the case had merit.
“Ms. Pauley’s assistant was told that the article for which Ms. Pauley was to be interviewed would appear in a special advertising supplement, and Ms. Pauley agreed to participate,” Mathis said in a statement.
The former co-host of NBC’s “Today” show and “Dateline NBC” named The New York Times Co. and DeWitt Publishing as defendants, saying they published a full-page photograph of her on the cover of an advertising supplement in October 2005.
Pauley, who in September 2004 made public her fight against biopolar disorder, said in the lawsuit that she was duped into believing she was being interviewed by a Times reporter for a news article about mental health issues.
Instead, the lawsuit said, she was being interviewed by telephone by a DeWitt employee for an advertising supplement for manufacturers of psychotherapeutic drugs.
A telephone contact number for DeWitt Publishing could not immediately be located Wednesday.
The lawsuit alleges the Times and DeWitt intentionally misrepresented the distinction between news and advertising to Pauley and her staff in an effort to disguise the advertising supplement as news.
The lawsuit says Pauley has been careful to protect her reputation and avoid self-promotion by refusing to be a paid spokeswoman or to endorse commercial products, except for work on behalf of charitable organizations or noncommercial ventures.