FX Networks and Olivia de Havilland’s battle over her depiction in Feud: Bette and Joan has been grinding through the courts for nearly a year and a half, and now the cabler is trying to keep her from taking her case to Washington, D.C.
FX today filed a writ of certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear her case, which was rejected by California’s high court in July after it had been dismissed by an appellate court a few months before.
“The Petition’s central argument is that the California Court of Appeal adopted a sweeping rule that ‘the First Amendment grants absolute protection for knowing or recklessly published false statements in a docudrama format,” today’s FX filing asserts (read it here). “The court of appeal did no such thing. Instead, the court correctly applied well-settled law and concluded, based on the particular facts before it, that Petitioner had no probability of establishing the requisite elements of her false-light and right-of-publicity claims. [The Supreme] Court need not and—at least as to the false-light claim— cannot review these factbound dismissals, neither of which conflicts with any decision of this Court or any other. The Petition should be denied.”
Deadline has reached out to de Havilland’s attorneys for comment but has yet to hear back.
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.