First it was Sacha Baron Cohen’s Who Is America? late last year, and now Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman is going after Showtime for $750 million and an injunction to shut down the premium cabler’s upcoming Roger Ailes series starring Russell Crowe as the now deceased Fox News Channel boss.
Representing ex-FNC booker and alleged victim of Ailes’s pervading sexual misconduct Laura Luhn, the conservative attorney is utilizing many of the arguments that failed Olivia de Havilland in her now SCOTUS rejected battle over her depiction in FX’s Feud: Bette & Joan in his second swing at the CBS-owned outlet, as well as producers Blumhouse Television. Swinging back against an assumed portrayal of Luhn as essentially a pimp for the much-accused Ailes, who was cut loose by the Murdochs with a multi-million-dollar package in the summer of 2016, Klayman also names journalist Gabriel Sherman, whose The Loudest Voice in the Room Ailes bio serves as the basis for the Showtime series.
“In addition to using Plaintiff’s Rights, Defendants, on information and belief, use Defendant Sherman’s false, misleading and defamatory statements and innuendos and present them as fact in their miniseries,” says the jury-seeking complaint filed in LA Superior Court yesterday (read it here). “In particular, Defendant Sherman falsely claimed that Luhn sent Ailes’ women to his office ‘after hours,’ as well as falsely representing that she had a history of mental illness, among other perversions of the truth,” the filing adds of the former FNC Senior Director of Corporate and Special Events, former Director of Booking, and Associate Producer, who was interviews at length by Sherman.
The lawsuit should come as no surprise as Klayman made public last fall that he would sue for Luhn if the alleged portrait of her Annabelle Wallis played self wasn’t changed and his client wasn’t brought on board the eight-part series as a consultant.
“Plaintiff and the undersigned counsel have tried to resolve the serious matters set forth in this Verified Complaint, but Defendants, each and every one of them, have arrogantly refused, obviously believing that their self-styled powerful standing in Hollywood and the entertainment industry and far superior financial positions would dissuade Plaintiff from filing this lawsuit,” the 20-page document put before the court this week asserts. “As a result, Defendants’ law firm, Davis Wright Tremaine brushed Plaintiff aside, to allow their clients to continue to exploit and profit from Luhn’s tragic and abusive past with Ailes and Fox News, which is prominently used and portrayed in their works by and through ‘A list’ actress Annabelle Wallis, who was cast to play Plaintiff.”
Both Showtime, who saw a slew of sexual misconduct claims topple Les Moonves, former CEO of their parent company CBS, and Blumhouse declined to comment on the Luhn lawsuit.
In the paperwork, Klayman refers to hundreds of millions he is seeking for Luhn as intended to “to punish and impress upon defendants the seriousness of their conduct and to deter similar conduct in the future.” Having received a $3.15 million severance and inked an NDA when she left FNC after two decades a couple of years ago, Luhn’s often graphic lawsuit claims that the internal enabling for Ailes’ behavior was the fault of the ex-CEO’s right-hand man and current White House Deputy Chief of Staff Bill Shine, media relation execs, and current FNC boss Suzanne Scott.
Well known in some circles for his litigation against former President Bill Clinton, Klayman first sued Showtime along with comedian Cohen back in September. The $95 million federal defamation suit claimed that failed Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore and his spouse Kayla Moore were tricked into appearing on the satire series. At nearly the same time, Klayman is helping ex-Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio in a $300 million suit against CNN and others for incorrectly calling the also failed GOP Senate contender a “convicted felon,” as well in a similar action against the New York Times.