United States of Entertainment


Just an update to my previous article on 102-year-old actress Olivia de Havilland’s petition to the Supreme Court (see Speaking Truth to Power in Tinseltown): Our less-than-Supreme Court has decided it will not hear her case. This means that companies like FX Networks are permitted to transform living people in an untruthful manner in their pursuit of profit, under First Amendment freedom protection. Essentially, Miss de Havilland’s fight for her freedom from character slander is trumped by the right of the people to be entertained, and the right of corporations to profit off that entertainment.

I wonder what James Madison is thinking.


(Tony Auth, Philadelphia Inquirer)


5 thoughts on “United States of Entertainment

  1. I agree that OdH was maligned and she has every right to be miffed about it, but come on Pete, does this case really merit the Supreme Court’s attention? I don’t think so. For SCOTUS to rule in her favor would invite an avalanche of frivolous lawsuits. This is drama-queen stuff. (Get it?)

    • I’m guessing you’re right about the frivolous lawsuits. At least, in the beginning. I think, eventually, Hollywood would determine it’s too risky to portray living people in what might be a negative, untruthful fashion. Also, I would say frivolous Hollywood-related lawsuits, like frivolous non-Hollywood lawsuits, are the price we pay for doing the right thing.

      I’m not sure I agree that it’s not worth the Supreme Court’s time. I’m not a Supreme Court petition expert, but anything involving the Constitution should be addressed by SCOTUS, since that’s the whole purpose of its existence. Jerry Falwell claimed Larry Flynt defamed his character with a cartoon, and SCOTUS looked at those two sleazeballs (ruling in favor of Flynt). This case is less sleazy, but similar. I don’t know. The workings of that branch of government are definitely mysterious.

      Thanks old pal!

  2. Thanks for the update Peter. Curiously, when I attempted to see your original post by clicking on the “Truth to Power” link, WordPress insisted on landing me on a new post edit page, not on your post about Olivia DeHavilland. Frustrating!
    On a side note, I have always thought that DeHavilland is just the greatest name. I own a “Dehavilland Aircraft of Canada Limited” pilot’s cap. It’s yellow with a DH dual-prop plane in the logo.
    On a further side note, I enjoyed your Maui review. We are off to Kauai, a favorite destination of ours for many years. My first visit was the result of responding to a direct mail offer.

    • Oooh, Kauai, “The Garden Island”! A woman in Maui told me it was prettier than Maui. Do you mind if we join you?! We’re already planning our next trip, to either Big Island or Kauai. (If you see any more direct mail offers, send them my way.) Yes, “De Havilland” is a cool name, and I’m familiar with the aircraft. My ggg-grandfather, an itinerant preacher, is buried in a small rural cemetery in the Hudson Valley of New York, and in the cemetery are a bunch of “Havilands,” they of the china and porcelain name. So, maybe I can claim Olivia’s “cousins” are buried with my ancestor??

      I’ll test the blog post link. WordPress has been acting funny lately. I think they’re upgrading…although most of these software “upgrades” tend to be downgrades. Mahalo, Phil, and tell Buffy Sainte-Marie I said aloha! (She lives on Kauai.)

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