Last year, a New York judge denied a motion to dismiss made by Allen & Overy in the sexual harassment case brought against the firm by the former associate known as Deidre Dare (aka Deidre Clark). “And thank God for that,” as Clark herself said.
We have nothing against Allen & Overy; the Magic Circle member is one of the world’s finest firms. It’s just that if the lawsuit had been dismissed, we would have been deprived of this amazing video of a managing partner reading pornography aloud during his deposition.
Yes, we know that watching video is tough for those of you who are reading us at work. But close your office door, or don your headphones, or put a reminder in your calendar to watch when you get home tonight. This short clip is worth it….
Some brief background. In her lawsuit, Clark alleges that she was sexually harassed by Tony Humphrey, at the time the managing partner of Allen & Overy’s Moscow office. She claims that after one consensual (albeit drunken) sexual encounter, Humphrey became fixated on her and started harassing her. According to Clark, she repeatedly rejected his advances over the following months and then he fired her, using a steamy online novel she was writing as an excuse for terminating her. From Clark’s complaint:
13. On the 19th July 2008, Humphrey and Clark each attended a party hosted by a lawyer at the firm. At that party, Humphrey made sexual advances on Clark, who was intoxicated at the time. This conduct included intimate sexual contact. Humphrey kept saying “I love sex.”
14. On the following Monday, Clark sought to confirm that there would be no negative repercussions from the contact that occurred on July 19, 2008. Humphrey stated that there would be none….
18. In September, Humphrey summoned Clark to his office for a meeting. At the meeting, Humphrey gave Clark a book. The book is a sexually explicit book about a nymphomaniac entitled “Confessions of a Bad Girl (Breaking the Rules).”
19. Thereafter, on several occasions, Humphrey sought to engage Clark in sexual conversations, using the book as a pretext.
Fast forward to Tony Humphrey’s deposition, which took place this past June. Clark’s counsel, Ray Bragar, had Humphrey read aloud from Breaking the Rules (affiliate link), the book Humphrey gave to Clark. Bragar sought to demonstrate the erotic nature of the book and how a partner giving it to an associate could be part of a pattern of sexual harassment. This was the result (not safe for work [NSFW] if your colleagues can hear the audio, which contains explicit sexual language):
New paragraph, indeed.
Kudos to Humphrey for the skill and gusto of his dramatic reading. Many other deponents, if forced into such an awkward situation, would have read from the book in a monotone, treating it like the phone book. Not Humphrey — his reading reflects intelligence and sensitivity to the material, and he almost seems to be enjoying himself. Even though he retired from A&O in 2011, he still shows an eagerness to excel. You can take the partner out of the law firm, but you can’t take the law firm out of the partner.
Here at Above the Law, we’ve toyed with the idea of publishing an e-book parody of Fifty Shades of Grey (affiliate link), set in Biglaw, featuring a powerful partner taking an innocent young associate as his (or her?) lover. If we end up doing this and need a reader for the audiobook, Tony Humphrey is at the top of our list.
UPDATE (12:30 p.m.): We are saddened to report that the video “has been removed by the user.”
Tony Humphrey reads from the book he gave Deidre [YouTube]
Breaking the Rules: Confessions of a Bad Girl [Amazon (affiliate link)]
‘I didn’t expect to be fired for writing a book': How a high-flying lawyer’s life was almost ruined by penning a racy novel [Daily Mail]
Earlier: The Latest Plot Twist in Deidre Dare v. Allen & Overy
An Update on Deidre Dare, Allen & Overy Associate Turned Aspiring Authoress
Deidre Dare Wants $$$ For Her Sexy Little Adventure Story
Allen & Overy Lawyer Turned Sex Columnist Makes Controversial Claims About Rape
Deidre Dare Likes Abusive Men and Getting Paid For Her Writing
Deidre Dare Proposes Prostitution as a Layoff Solution?
(Laid-off) Lawyer of the Day: Sex Novelist Deidre Dare Sues Allen & Overy
Lawyer of the Weekend: Deidre Dare