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What is defamation, and what can be done about it?

What do Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, James Woods, Jim Carrey and Hulk Hogan have in common?

Obviously, one slam-dunk answer is that they are all public figures who have commanded attention throughout their careers on tabloids’ front pages and relevant to widely encompassing behavior. We could add many hundreds of other names to the above list of individuals deemed celebrities who have been similarly accorded broad attention.

What sets the aforementioned high-profile persons apart – along with a lengthy compendium of other well-known faces and figures we haven’t mentioned – is the stance they have taken against alleged defamation.

That is a commonplace in the entertainment world, with celebrities who are publicly ridiculed or otherwise held up to contempt confronting a hard choice as to how – if at all – they should respond. After all, a response to bad publicity breeds more publicity.

Often, though, alleged conduct arguably crosses a legal line, leaving an offender – whether a print publication, a quoted person, a social media contributor or other party – open to civil and/or criminal liability. Celebrities such as those named above sometimes have simply had enough and are unwilling to remain silent and passive in the face of false communications that soil their reputations and careers.

The aforementioned entertainers all decided at some point to take legal action against alleged defaming parties. An online overview of celebrity lawsuits claiming libel or slander provides some details concerning their claims, stressing perhaps most notably that high-profile figures both win and lose such cases.

We note at the long-tenured Los Angeles entertainment Law Offices of Barry K. Rothman that, “The decision to pursue a defamation lawsuit or similar action is a complex one” for a celebrity. Our proven legal team helps valued clients make sound evaluations concerning defamatory claims and follow through with a reasoned response aimed at best-case results.

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