Ringling Wins Circus Suit

Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus recently scored a win in a San Jose, Calif., court after activists alleged they were harassed by the circus for trying to videotape backstage treatment of the animals.

According to court documents obtained by the San Jose Mercury News, activists Deniz Bolbol and Joseph Patrick Cuviello claimed circus employees shined lasers and blasted water at their cameras while they were filming.

“Every year,” an attorney for the activists wrote in court papers, “the Circus has used many different tactics to harass and interfere with Plaintiffs and other activists while they are attempting to videotape the Circus’ treatment of animals, including spraying Plaintiffs with fire hoses, shining laser pointers into Plaintiffs’ eyes and camera lenses and tangling Plaintiffs up with a rope.”

Jurors for the case disagreed, coming to a decision in favor of the circus in just over an hour.

Ringling attorney Ruby Kazi told the Mercury News the activists had stood outside a 7-foot wall beside the loading dock of HP Pavilion and used monopods to peek into a private area, which irked some of the circus employees.

“The employees felt like this was their private space, not a public area, and they told the activists, ‘You can’t do this.’”
Bolbol and Cuviello, who alleged in the suit that their rights to free speech were being impinged upon, apparently plan to continue pressing the issue legally.