Teenager takes legal action against media after becoming mullet meme internet sensation

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By Thomas Connelly on

Ali Ziggi Mosslmani claims he is now the subject of ridicule after his image went viral


An Australian teenager whose voluptuous mullet-style haircut thrust him into internet stardom is taking legal action against several high-profile media outlets, claiming he has been defamed.

Ali Ziggi Mosslmani — or ‘Ziggy’ to his friends — shot to fame last year after a photograph of him dancing at an 18th birthday party went viral.

The pic, taken by professional snapper Jeremy Nool, eventually made its way onto Facebook. This triggered a series of memes and photoshopped images, poking fun at Mosslmani’s somewhat unusual haircut.

Now, in what is a serious legal twist, Mosslmani has filed defamation suits against the Daily Mail, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and the Australian Radio Network for publishing images of him and mocking his choice of hairstyle.

The Aussie teen claims he has been subjected to ridicule and portrayed as “hideously ugly” due to the widespread media coverage the photograph received.

In a preliminary judgment handed down yesterday, District Court Judge Judith Gibson revealed some of the memes included “photoshopped pictures of the plaintiff showing him on Mount Rushmore, on a dollar bill, as ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ and as a horse”.

Continuing, Gibson claimed the mullet-sporting teen’s legal action had been “overpleaded” and was designed to “claim as many imputations as possible while simultaneously avoiding a defence of honest opinion or justification”.

Rejecting Mosslmani’s claim the articles implied he was “hideously ugly” she continued:

The plaintiff is entitled to plead an imputation of condition — namely being a ridiculous person for having such a hairstyle — as well as an imputation amounting to an act. This imputation is reasonably capable of being conveyed and will go to the jury.

A further preliminary hearing is due to take place on 17 November, giving Mosslmani plenty of time to mull things over.

Read the judgment in full below: