A judge says Ellen DeGeneres didn't defame Warner Robins real estate agent Titi Pierce when she turned her name into a breast joke.
U.S. District Court judge Leslie Abrams this week threw out Pierce'e lawsuit against the TV talk show host.
Pierce argued that DeGeneres humiliated her by pronouncing her name as "titty," rather than "tee tee."
That came during a comedy segment broadcast in February and repeated in April.
In effect, the judge wrote, that was only a joke, not an insult.
Pierce's lawsuit says she's a Robins Air Force Base engineer and a real-estate agent. Her first name is Nigerian and means "flower."
She filed the lawsuit in June in U.S. District Court in Macon against Warner Brothers Entertainment, parent company of the DeGeneres show.
DeGeneres used a picture of Pierce's real-estate sign, featuring her name, in a comedy segment titled, "What's Wrong With These Ads.... and These Signs?"
Each time the segment aired, Pierce claimed, she and her husband faced ridicule and harassing phone calls.
But Abrams wrote that Pierce's sign, posted in public, is fair game for a comedian.
Making a joke about her name, even mispronouncing it, isn't defamation or invasion of privacy, the judge wrote.
"DeGeneres's mispronunciation of Plaintiff's name was made in the context of a scripted television segment, and her pronunciation of Plantiff's name was made to advance the joking purpose of a segment..."
Abrams' 11-page decision references lawsuits involving Hustler Magazine, Jerry Falwell, the Macon Telegraph, World Championship Wrestling and Bill Clinton's alleged mistress Gennifer Flowers.
It also includes a footnote discussing how the word "GHOTI" could be pronounced as "fish."
Abrams' Feb. 15 order approved Warner Brothers' motion to dismiss the lawsuit and said Pierce should pay part of Warner Brothers' court costs.
We could not reach Pierce, her attorney or Warner Brothers' attorney in Atlanta for comment Friday.
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