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We all have hopes and dreams. And perhaps it was those aspirations that led Contessa Bourbon to list the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, London Times, Guardian, and Washington Post in her Twitter bio. But according to two of those news agencies, at least, Bourbon has never worked for them. The New York Times sued Bourbon last year, saying she falsely claimed she was a reporter representing the paper at news events and interviews.
Perhaps that's why the Gray Lady no longer appears on her Twitter page. And perhaps that's why the Wall Street Journal's parent company, Dow Jones, filed a complaint against Bourbon last week, seeking to bar her from continuing to claim a connection with the news outlet.
All the Reporters Fit to Impersonate
The lawsuit claims Bourbon also held herself out as a Wall Street Journal reporter at events like CNBC's sit-down interview with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in May of this year, even asking Ross a question during the interview. Bourbon sent correspondence and payment requests to then-editor in chief Gerard Baker. "If I can't work at the New York Times because of him, I have to fully move to Wall Street Jouran [sic] and London Times," she wrote in an email. "I'm sorry, I may not be able to write news this week." "I'm glad that my proposed ads got published in our newspaper, webpage and magazine," she wrote in another, referring to herself as Deputy Managing Editor. "Thanks for everyone's cooperation."
Dow Jones's claims are based on New York trademark laws. (The New York Daily News reported that Bourbon lives in Queens). The lawsuit alleges:
Ms. Bourbon's use of the The Wall Street Journal™ trademark in connection with her physical impersonation of a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and in representing herself online (via her social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) as the same has caused and will likely continue to cause confusion, or injury to the business reputation of Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, or dilution of the distinctive quality of Dow Jones's trademarks.
You can read the full lawsuit below:
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