EXCLUSIVE: After more than a year of fighting FX and Ryan Murphy over her depiction in Feud, Olivia de Havilland has kept her word and is taking her case to the Supreme Court.
“We must persevere and speak truth to power,” the 102-year-old two-time Oscar winner said Friday as her attorneys petitioned SCOTUS in the ongoing legal battle. “The fight is itself important to the principle of honesty, so much in need today in the face of deliberate public confusion for selfish agendas,” she added in a statement from her Paris home (read it in full here).
Having suffered a number of legal setbacks and defeats since filing her lawsuit in June 2017, — including the California Supreme Court’s decision in July not to review her case — de Havilland is seeking to have the nation’s highest court re-examine what jurisdictions in the Golden State have decided. “The Court of Appeal’s decision is a radical departure from traditional First Amendment precedent, and benefits no group other than those who seek to use the names and identities of others in untrue and salacious ‘historical dramas’ for their own profit,” said ,” said the actress’ attorney Suzelle Smith of Horwarth & Smith in Los Angeles.
“Are reckless or knowing false statements about a living public figure, published in docudrama format, entitled to absolute First Amendment protection from claims based on the victim’s statutory and common law causes of action for defamation and right of publicity, so as to justify dismissal at the pleading stage?” asks the petition filed today (read it here).
FX and producer Fox 21 TV did not respond to Deadline’s request for comment.
The Gone with the Wind actress asserts that FX, Murphy and Fox 21 TV never obtained nor even sought her permission to depict her or use her name in Feud: Bette & Joan, their eight-episode series about Joan Crawford and Bette Davis that aired last year. Among other issues, de Havilland’s lawsuit specifically targets the alleged backstage drama involving her depicted in Feud‘s “And the Winner Is …” episode about the 1963 Oscars.
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