Celebrity Defamation: Part II

I was at a Kiwanis club meeting the other day and the topic of Tiger Woods came up. Someone mentioned that Tiger was in deep trouble (an obvious observation) and began to rattle off the names of each of Tiger’s mistresses and then there was some generally commentary about Tiger’s "transgressions." All in good taste, of course.

What struck me about this conversation was the amount of detail some of my fellow Kiwanians knew about Tiger’s dilemma. I mean, all the guys at my table were well-educated men over the age of 50. They’re certainly not the type of guys who’d watch Entertainment Tonight or check out the latest celebrity gossip at TMZ.com. Know what I mean?

And yet they knew so much about a golfing celebrity’s love life, which brings me to the point of this post.

Are the details of a celebrity’s love life a matter of public interest for purposes of the anti-SLAPP statute? 

One would think not given that there other more weighty issues of public interest which deserve debate such as political speech, child abuse, homelessness, AIDS, etc. etc. Whether Tiger cheated with 2 or 10 women or is not really of great public significance. Right?

Not so say the California courts. 

Details of a celebrity’s life can be a matter of public interest if they involve issues in which the public is interested. Stated another way, the issue does not need to be "significant" as long as the public is interested in it. Nygard, Inc. v. Uusi-Kerttula (2008) 159 Cal.App.4th 1027.

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Comments

  1. Ms. C. says

    Not being an attorney myself, I won’t comment on the legal ramifications of discussing a celebrity’s personal life BUT it’s all highly entertaining all the same. I’m not surprised these unlikely Kiwanians have the supposed “scoop”…in my experience most Kiwanians tell good stories all around 🙂
    It was nice meeting you at the GBA dinner, we hope you’ll come back again! The blog is full of food for thought, I’ll be sure to forward it to the attorney in the family. Happy Holidays to you and yours Adrianos!!

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