Celebrity defamation lawsuits differ from slander and libel cases launched by private citizens. This easy-to-understand legal introduction to celebrity defamation will give you a better understanding of why it’s so difficult for famous people to win defamation lawsuits.
Defamation laws in the United States feature different standards for celebrities and private citizens. Simply put, public figures must prove “actual malice” in order to emerge victorious in a defamation lawsuit.
What Should Celebrities Do If They Are Defamed?
If you are a celebrity – minor or major – a public official, or somehow considered to be a “public figure,” it’s important to follow the step below if you are defamed.
Celebrity Defamation Step #1: Contact a qualified defamation attorney who has handled high-profile suits in the past. If the defamation happened online, it’s best to find a lawyer who also has considerable experience with Internet law.
Celebrity Defamation Step #2: Make sure to collect any and all material you feel is defamatory. If the material is online, make hard copies of the web pages where the content appears. Make an effort to save the material electronically, as well. (If you don’t know how to save electronic data, a tech savvy defamation lawyer will be able to help you.)
Be sure to do a search and take note of all the websites on which the content appears. Information has a way of going viral – the further you can prove that the disparaging statements spread, the better. If the defamation was published in a newspaper or other periodical, be sure to buy several copies of each publication. If the incident was broadcast over the radio, TV or at a public event, do your best to get a hold of either the audio or video of the incident and make additional copies.
Celebrity Defamation Step #3: Meet with your defamation lawyer ASAP. The quicker they can get the slander or libel lawsuit rolling, the quicker the situation can be cleared up – and do the least amount of damage to your reputation.
Your defamation attorney will go over the pros and cons of filing a celebrity defamation lawsuit. They’ll help you figure out if the hassle is worth the effort and explain the proper way to answer press questions about the matter. Moreover, your counsel may be able to broker a settlement with the offending party before the satiation spirals out of control.
It’s important to be 500% honest with your lawyer in these first meetings. If you aren’t, any withheld information or prevarications could result in an anti-SLAPP counter-claim.
Once your attorney begins the litigation process, the case will proceed based on the evidence and nature of the case.
Celebrity Defamation In The 21st Century
The interesting thing about celebrity defamation in the Internet Age is that lines between celebrity and laymen are becoming ever more blurred. With the proliferation of reality television shows, it sometimes seems like nearly half the population will eventually have their own “show.” Moreover, the nature of social media creates a large gray area when it comes to who qualifies as “famous.” In fact, in a recent California ruling, the judge declared that “everybody is famous on Facebook.” Granted, the California case dealt with intellectual property and rights of publicity, but legal precedence is legal precedence – and if the standard is not reversed, the decision could spark a major shift in online defamation law for private citizens.
Whether you are a celebrity or private citizen, Kelly / Warner law can assist with all your defamation lawsuit needs. We’ve successfully represented hundreds of individuals and businesses with various defamation and false light legal actions. We know every inch of slander and libel law, and possess significant expertise in the area of Internet law – a fact our clients find helpful since most defamation cases these days involve the Internet.
Contact us today to begin the conversation about remedying your defamation legal issue.