Olivia de Havilland SCOTUS, Supreme Court rejected a petition.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a petition on Monday by actress Olivia de Havilland to review the dismissal of a lawsuit she brought against the makers of FX’s “Feud: Bette and Joan.”
The 102-year-old Oscar winner, best known for roles in the classic films “Gone With the Wind” and “The Heiress,” has objected to Catherine Zeta-Jones’ unflattering portrayal of her made in the FX miniseries.
Although a Los Angeles judge had allowed de Havilland to proceed with her defamation complaint, a California appeals court reversed that decision on First Amendment grounds last March.
”Publishing a fictitious work about a real person cannot mean the author, by virtue of writing fiction, has acted with actual malice,” the California appellate court ruled. “Recognizing this, in cases where the claimed highly offensive or defamatory aspect of the portrayal is implied, courts have required plaintiffs to show that the defendant ‘intended to convey the defamatory impression.’ De Havilland must demonstrate that FX either deliberately cast her statements in an equivocal fashion in the hope of insinuating a defamatory import to the reader, or that it knew or acted in reckless disregard of whether its words would be interpreted by the average reader as defamatory statements of fact.”
The actress is famed in legal circles for helping bring down Hollywood’s old studio system by successfully challenging her contract with Warner Bros. in the 1940s.