Hollywood is more than familiar with its share of defamation lawsuits. The media love the wealthy and exciting lifestyles of celebrities. While most celebrities will pose for pictures and even grant interviews, many of them have also been the focus of untrue and reputation-damaging acts of slander, libel and defamation.
David Schwimmer won a $400,000 defamation suit against former Hollywood fund-raiser Aaron Tonken. Tonken had allegedly told the National Enquirer Schwimmer demanded two Rolex watches in exchange for his attendance at a charity event. Schwimmer decided to take action, insisting that this statement was grossly inaccurate.
Robin Williams sued his celebrity look-alike, Michael Clayton as well as Clayton’s agent for allegedly passing him off as the real Robin Williams. The actual Robin Williams also claimed that Clayton had cheated various charities out of money while pretending to be Williams.
Sharon Stone sued plastic surgeon Renato Calabria for allegedly telling both U.S. Weekly and Touch Magazine that she had undergone a facelift. Stone claimed that these statements defamed her and made it difficult for her to find work.
Bette Midler received a $400,000 settlement against advertising agency Young & Rubicam on an original $10 million lawsuit against the Ford Motor Company for using a “sound-alike” in one of their commercials. Not only did the voice imitate the famous singer’s, but the sound-alike also covered a Bette Midler song, somewhat implying the endorsement of the famous singer.
Cameron Diaz won a libel case against British newspaper, the Sun, for accusing Diaz of having an affair with her friend, TV producer, Shane Nickerson. Diaz was dating Justin Timberlake at the time and Nickerson was married with a child. The newspaper had run a blurred and shadowed picture, taken behind a bush, and stated that the two “enjoyed more than just a professional relationship.” The article caused damage to both Diaz and Nickerson’s respective relationships.
While many celebrities face the damaging effects of defamation, some celebrities have gotten themselves into trouble on the other side of the case. As a Killeen and Waco personal injury attorney I understand both sides of the cases.
Jerry Seinfeld and his wife, Jessica, were sued by Missy Chase Lapine, over comments made by Seinfeld on the David Letterman show. Seinfeld told Letterman and his audience that Lapine was a “nut job” and “a wacko” for alleging that Seinfeld’s wife had plagiarized her cookbook titled “Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Getting Your Kids Eating Good Food.” The alleged plagiarized book by Jessica Seinfeld was titled “The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals.”