An entrepreneur is suing People magazine for $4 million after the publication mistakenly identified her as Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s reported mistress.
In its Sept. 16, 2013, issue, People ran a story titled “Billion-Dollar Breakup?” in which it was reported that Brin and his wife, Anne Wojeicki, had separate and that he was reportedly dating a 27-year-old employee named Amanda Rosenberg.
Two photos accompanies the story: one of Brin and Wojeicki, and another of a woman identified as Rosenberg — who was in reality Manhattan-based businesswoman Nathalie de Clercq.
Her attorney, Jeffrey M. Eilender, tells the New York Post that he’s filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court, pointing out that the story was published around the time she was launching an online venture. (De Clercq is the co-founder of Wiplabs Designs, which designs tech accessories and launched in April 2013, according to its website. The company added tech fashion venture Rogue Concepts in October.)
“She’s been having trouble getting financing and getting her business on a good footing because she has to deal with this question mark,” Eilender says, adding: “Either she’s a laughingstock or they think she’s a mistress.”
He also says that De Clercq doesn’t know Brin or Rosenberg. The photo, the suit claims, was taken — unbeknownst to De Clercq — while she was riding her bike in New York last summer.
The suit claims People acted in “a grossly irresponsible manner without due consideration for the standards of information gathering.” While People printed a retraction, the suit claims De Clercq has been “shunned in her professional circles” and is now a “persona non grata.”
Time Inc., which owns People, isn’t commenting.