Judge tosses ex-FIT dean’s defamation suit over racist fashion show

Judge tosses ex-FIT dean’s defamation suit over racist fashion show

By Priscilla DeGregory

A Manhattan judge tossed a lawsuit by an ex-dean of the Fashion Institution of Technology who claimed that she was made a scapegoat in a school scandal involving allegations of racism.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lynn Kotler ruled that the design and fashion school didn’t defame ousted dean Dr. Mary Davis when it addressed the debacle in a letter to students.

Davis sued the school in February accusing it of throwing her under the bus after The Post revealed that black model Amy Lefevre was allegedly pressured to wear oversized “monkey ears,” red lips and bushy eyebrows during a 2020 fashion show.

Lefevre ultimately walked the runway without the controversial accessories.

Davis took issue with the letter from FIT President Dr. Joyce Brown, who told students that “those in charge of and responsible for overseeing the show failed to recognize or anticipate the racist references and cultural insensitivities that were obvious to almost everybody else.”

Kotler said that Brown’s wording in the letter clearly only expressed her opinion which doesn’t rise to the level of defamation.

A model walks the runway wearing Junkai Huang during the Fashion Institute Of Technology's Fine Art Of Fashion And Technology Show at Pier 59 Studios on February 07, 2020 in New York, New York.
Models said they were forced to wear big ears and lips in an FIT fashion show on Feb. 7, 2020.
Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Fashion Institute Of Technology
A model walks the runway wearing Junkai Huang during the Fashion Institute Of Technology's Fine Art Of Fashion And Technology Show at Pier 59 Studios on February 07, 2020 in New York, New York.
The Manhattan Supreme Court dismissed Dr. Mary Davis’ lawsuit, saying FIT didn’t smear the former dean.
Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Fashion Institute Of Technology

And the only statements made as facts in the letter — that the school was opening an investigation and that Davis had been placed on leave — weren’t false and therefore cannot be considered defamation.

A lawyer for FIT declined to comment.

Davis’ lawyers didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

https://nypost.com/2022/01/07/judge-tosses-ex-fit-deans-defamation-suit-over-racist-fashion-show/

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