Stu Bykofsky Sues Philadelphia Inquirer and Inga Saffron for Defamation
The suit centers on Saffron's comments about what she called Bykofsky's "taste for child prostitutes in Thailand."
Remember when Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron positively eviscerated longtime scribe Stu Bykofsky at his July 2019 retirement party? Well, Bykofsky has now filed a lawsuit against Saffron and the newspaper surrounding the incident.
Bykofsky filed the lawsuit in Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court on Wednesday, accusing both Saffron and the Inquirer of defamation.
In the lawsuit, Bykofsky says that he specifically told management that he did not want any kind of send-off or party for his retirement. But once he saw that one had been assembled, he claims that he “reluctantly attended.”
The suit goes on to say that Saffron “went on a savage rant against Mr. Bykofsky, impugning his journalistic methods, making false claims of sexism, alleging felonious conduct, and citing supposed ‘gratuitous attacks leveled against women.'”
Then, the suit quotes the following portion of Saffron’s speech:
So we disagree on just about everything of his three favorite subjects — pistols, prostitutes, and puppies, although we might find common ground on the puppies … For all that, I did read Stu sometimes, not always, not every crazy column, but some of them — and then he left me outraged. Like the infamous column about his taste for child prostitutes in Thailand.
The comments about Bykofsky’s alleged “taste for child prostitutes in Thailand” refer to this hugely controversial 2011 column he wrote, an account of his trip to the country.
Bykofsky asserts in his lawsuit that the article is “devoid of any assertion or implication that he had a ‘taste for child prostitutes.'” He points out that he wrote that the industry was “terrible” and that it “makes me feel bad.”
He also calls out members of Inquirer management, alleging that they “exhibited jocular laughter and then personal discomfort at the accusations leveled by Saffron against Mr. Bykofsky.”
“Given their professional experiences,” the suit continues, “they clearly knew the difference between playful ribbing and malicious falsities. Notwithstanding, they did nothing to restrain, cut-off, or otherwise abate Ms. Saffron’s tirade.”
Bykofsky argues that Saffron’s speech went on to: “blacken and besmirch his reputation; expose him to public contempt, hatred and ridicule; convey the impression that he is immoral, has engaged with child prostitutes and that he has a ‘taste’ for it; detract from his dignity, respect, and esteem; subject him to emotional distress, mental anguish, embarrassment and humiliation; and interfere with his personal and professional life.”
The suit seeks unspecified damages. Neither Saffron nor Inquirer management immediately responded to a request for comment.