“The reversal is a victory for the creative community, and the First Amendment,” he said in a statement. “Today’s victory gives all creators the breathing room necessary to continue to tell important historical stories inspired by true events. Most of all, it’s a great day for artistic expression and a reminder of how precious our freedom remains.”
The California Court of Appeals 2nd Appellate District threw out the lawsuit today, saying that Catherine Zeta-Jones’s portrayal of the Oscar-winning actress in the program “is not highly offensive to a reasonable person as a matter of law. De Havilland’s lawsuit claimed that the portrayal damaged her “professional reputation for integrity, honesty, generosity, self-sacrifice and dignity.”
Olivia de Havilland's Lawyer Says 'Feud' Lawsuit Is 'Destined For A Higher Court'
The Motion Picture Association of America also stood firmly behind the Appeals Court ruling. “The MPAA is proud to have joined with our colleagues at Netflix to submit an amicus brief to the Court of Appeal, warning that upholding the Superior Court’s decision would cause both artistic freedom and public discourse to suffer,” said MPAA chairman/CEO Charles Rivkin. “The Court of Appeal’s opinion will safeguard the right of filmmakers to tell stories that entertain, inspire, and inform audiences around the world.”
He added, “Today’s decision represents a major legal victory for filmmakers and creators of all kinds, re-affirming their First Amendment right to tell stories about and inspired by real people and events in genres including docudramas, biopics, historical fiction, and documentaries. It’s this right that has allowed filmmakers to make movies from Citizen Kane to The Devil Wears Prada to Primary Colors to The Social Network to Hidden Figures, among countless others.”
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