Sydney man takes defamation case over mullet photo

8:23 pm on 26 October 2016

A Sydney man who claimed he was publicly ridiculed because of his mullet has suffered a setback in his defamation case against media organisations.

The photo of Ziggy Mosslmani that was viewed more than 1.7 million times online.

Online stories about the photo of Ziggy Mosslmani have been viewed more than 1.7 million times, the ABC reported. Photo: Facebook / Jeremy Nool

Ziggy Mosslmani was photographed at an 18th birthday party in July last year by a professional photographer who then uploaded the photo to Facebook.

Within days the post went viral, spurring satirical memes and media stories about his haircut.

Mr Mosslmani claimed he was ridiculed for his mullet after members of the public created Photoshopped images of him and news organisations published the photos with headlines he claimed made him out to be ridiculous, ugly and a joke.

The original photo has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook and there are nearly 2000 comments on the picture, while stories about the photo have been viewed more than 1.7 million times.

The three media organisations, The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph and the Australian Radio Network, argued in court "that the plaintiff, by reason of permitting himself to be photographed with a mullet hairstyle, has justifiably exposed himself to ridicule by the public".

New South Wales District Court Judge Judith Gibson struck out Mr Mosslmani's imputations of ridicule and asked him to file an amended statement of claim.

The judge said most of the comments were humorous in nature.

"The plaintiff's striking mullet haircut has generated a great deal of interest on the internet, most of it humorous, and some of it in the form of clever observations, such as the 'Pythagoras' direction in one of the memes," she said.

The photographer, Jeremy Nool, said he had no idea the photo would make such an impact.

"It was one of the photos where everyone's dancing. I thought, this is a good angle, and the lighting was good," he said.

"When I put it up I didn't expect anything to happen, but it blew up and went viral."