May 1, 2015

Couple files lawsuit after their engagement photo appears on an erotic novel, A Gronking to Remember


A gronking this couple wants to forget.

A gronking this couple wants to forget.

A book called A Gronking to Remember is causing a stir, and not because of its title. The self-published erotic novel is about a woman who falls in love with the American football star Rob Gronkowski after seeing his famous “Gronk Spike” on the field. (Being British I had never heard of Gronkowski until I wrote this post, but I gather he is famous.)

But it has emerged that the photo used on the front cover of the book, which shows a woman and a man embracing, is actually the engagement photo of John and Jane Roe of Ohio. Not only did they not know that the photo was being used, but now they are suing the book’s author Lacey Noonan (not her real name) as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple for stocking the book.

According to The Telegraph, which quotes the lawsuit:

The use of the Plaintiffs image has held them up to ridicule and embarrassment… This outrageous connection has been further aggravated when the book, with the Plaintiffs image, has been reproduced in the media nationwide. The book has been shown as a source of ribald humour on The Tonight Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live as well as being displayed and read before the press at media day for the Super Bowl.

That is very embarrassing! Here’s a very embarrassing video of Rob Gronkowski holding the book on television and being embarrassed by it:

It seems the image has already been changed on to show another couple, whose identities are still not yet known. But the case will pose an interesting question, as The Telegraph reports:

…the case will proceed to the federal court where it will now test the 1996 Communication Decency Act to determine whether an e-book provider can be regarded as the publisher for anything self-published using its service.

Whatever happens, John and Jane will be hoping that this is one gronking that everyone can forget. Meanwhile I’m hoping I’ll never, ever, have to write the word “gronking” again.


Zeljka Marosevic is the managing director of Melville House UK.