Supreme Court Denies Review of Olivia de Havilland’s ‘Feud’ Lawsuit – Hollywood Reporter

7:01am PT

Eriq Gardner

The 102-yr-venerable actress has misplaced her case over a series that she claimed depicted her falsely and unfairly.

Photofest (Davis, Crawford); Getty Photos (De Havilland)

Bette Davis; Olivia de Havilland; Joan Crawford

Olivia de Havilland, the 102-yr-venerable actress known for roles inLong gone With the WindandThe Adventures of Robin Hood, is rarely any longer going to catch one other crack at moral glory. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected her petition to take a look at the dismissal of her lawsuit brought in opposition to the makers of FX’sFeud: Bette and Joan.

She sued over the Ryan Murphy sequence regarding the lives of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Her objection became once how Catherine Zeta-Jones’ portrayal of her made her seem care for a shameful hypocrite and gossip. She claimed the sequence set inaccurate words in her mouth. Particularly, her moral action asserted violation of her moral of publicity and inaccurate gentle.

Initially, a Los Angeles establish allowed the actress to transfer forward in direction of trial, however a California appeals court docket reversed the resolution on First Amendment grounds. Deciding that she would possibly maybe now not label every other of prevailing on the merits of her claims, her criticism became once underneath California’s anti-SLAPP statute, a law designed to curtail frivolous moral actions impinging First Amendment order.

The case then became once dropped at higher authorities, however neither the California Supreme Court nor the U.S. Supreme Court thought intervention became once warranted.

De Havilland, who will be known in moral circles for serving to yell down the venerable studio machine by inspiring her lock-up contracts with Warner Bros. within the Nineteen Forties, centered her petition to the Supreme Court on the “staunch malice” fashioned for public figures declaring defamatory statements in biopics.

“Publishing a fictitious work about a proper person can no longer imply the author, by virtue of writing fiction, has acted with staunch malice,” wrote the California appellate panel. “Recognizing this, in circumstances the build the claimed highly offensive or defamatory facet of the portrayal is implied, courts hang required plaintiffs to label that the defendant ‘supposed to yell the defamatory affect.’ De Havilland must label that FX either deliberately solid her statements in an equivocal sort within the hope of insinuating a defamatory import to the reader, or that it knew or acted in reckless overlook of whether its words will be interpreted by the typical reader as defamatory statements of reality.”

The California appeals court docket concluded that the actress would possibly maybe now not make this demonstration even upon the trial establish’s alternative conclusion that since she became once alive, the makers ofFeudwould possibly maybe hang asked her about inaccuracies.

Her attorneys argued that the resolution amounted to absolute immunity for docudramas by maintaining knowing or recklessly inaccurate statements to the identical stage as just or negligently inaccurate ones.

FX quibbled with that prognosis and suggested the high court docket no longer to look at within the case.

With out clarification, the Supreme Court determined to pass on a overview. In consequence, it looks to be as although Olivia de Havilland is out of alternate choices and has firmly misplaced her lawsuit. 

Eriq Gardner


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