Biographer Escapes Defamation Ruling; Judge Says: It’s OK To Quote Contacts

globe made of country flags to represent international defamation lawLast week, defamation news out of Poland made headlines in the United States (probably because of the Hollywood link; nevertheless, the result is legally noteworthy). The family of Wladyslaw Szpilman sued biographer Agata Tuszynska for defamation, citing accusations levied by singer Wiera Gran in a 2010 tome about the songstress’s life.

Real-Life “The Pianist’s” Family Sued A Biographer For Defamation

Who is Wladyslaw Szpilman, you ask? Portrayed by Adrian Brody in the 2003 Oscar winning film, The Pianist, Szpilman was a gifted musician who used music to cope with Nazi-occupied Poland.

According to Wiera Gran, though, Szpilman was not the compassionate figure portrayed in the Roman Polanski film, but instead helped Nazis by being a member of the Jewish Police in a Warsaw ghetto – a shocking and offensive allegation, indeed.

During the Trial, Questionable Similarities Between A Defendant and the Plaintiff’s Love One Were Revealed

Devastated by Tuszynska’s account of Gran’s remembrances, Szpilman’s family sued the biographer for libel. The case went to trial, and several people who lived in the ghetto with Szpilman testified to his innocence.

In a twist of coincidence, during the trial it was revealed that Wiera Gran was once also accused of cooperating with the Axis, but was later acquitted of the charges. Regardless, she was forced to flee Poland due to the stigma.

Additionally, during the hearings, even Tuszynska, the author, admitted doubts about Gran’s accusations, but testified that she felt it was her journalistic duty to report events as her subjects relayed them.

But Ultimately, The Family Lost The Defamation Lawsuit

Despite testimonials affirming Szpilman’s upstanding character, his family lost the defamation suit. The judge reasoned that journalists and writers need to be able to quote their contacts without fear of prosecution.

Do You Need to Speak With An International Defamation Law Attorney?

Do you have a legal matter involving international defamation issues? Are you looking to sue someone in another country for defamation? Are you being sued for slander or libel by someone in another nation or jurisdiction? If so and you need legal help, contact Kelly Warner Law. Our dedicated team of slander and libel lawyers have successfully handled myriad international defamation situations. We have the knowledge and know-how to help you, too. Contact us today to begin the conversation.

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