In March of 2011, actress Katie Holmes filed a libel lawsuit against Star magazine. Star magazine’s January 2011 cover story headline read “Katie DRUG SHOCKER!” and “ADDICTION NIGHTMARE.” While these allegations aren’t true and Star magazine was actually referring to a device called an “e-meter” that causes the body to produce endorphins, the thousands of people that passed by these headlines did not actually read the whole story. All that these people saw were the headlines claiming that Katie Holmes used drugs. Katie took this news to the Courts of the Central District of California and filed a $50 million lawsuit against the company behind Star, American Media Inc.
A libel lawsuit (also know as slander or defamation) is where a claim is made and implied to be factual about a business, product, or person that gives a negative image and in actuality has no factual basis to support it. In simpler terms, a libel lawsuit is where something negative is published about someone or something that is not true according to the subject of the allegations. The claim by Holmes was that Star purposely published lies that have hurt her personally and professionally and have caused embarrassment to her whole family. The lawsuit was settled for undisclosed financial details, a donation by American Media Inc. to the children’s charity Dizzy Feet in Holmes’ name, and a public apology to Katie Holmes in their magazine.
I think that the filing of this lawsuit was legally sound and I can see how Holmes would be upset. As a celebrity you are always in the public eye and trying to maintain a good reputation. For many stars this can be a difficult task with tabloids constantly posting lies about them or farfetched stretches of the truth. While Katie Holmes was indeed using a device that makes the body produce endorphins, the device does not have anything to do with drugs. Having headlines eluding to the fact that Holmes is addicted to drugs or that this is the reason why she cannot leave her husband can be harmful to not only the celebrities public image, but to personal relationships. Holmes was typically known as an All-American type of woman who now is married to Tom Cruise and has a child as well as stepchildren. Being called a drug addict can tarnish that image and cause a celebrity to be blacklisted from certain projects due to the now tarnished reputation. As stated in the lawsuit, these allegations have also caused embarrassment and problems for her actor husband, Tom Cruise and have caused embarrassment and shame to their children who suffer ridicule due to these tabloids. I believe that Holmes had every right to file the lawsuit and brought up valid points of how the headlines had effected her.
The final outcome of this lawsuit was that Star magazine published a public apology to Holmes, donated money to a charity in Holmes’ name, and for an undisclosed financial amount paid to the star. I think that this was a fair settlement for this case. The fact that the amount was undisclosed was good because celebrities like Holmes already make millions of dollars a year and revealing how much the suit was actually settled for could’ve had people in outrage if it was an obscene amount. The donation made to charity was also a good move in the suit because it makes Holmes look good as well as the Star magazine for donating to a charity. Finally, the apology was also beneficial because readers who had not heard the real story behind the tabloids had a chance to see that the allegations were false. It also showed that Holmes was looking for things to be corrected rather than just monetary compensation.
As noted in an article about the lawsuit, it stated that this lawsuit can “serve as a lesson to other tabloids that if they print false and defamatory stories about Katie, she will stand up for her legal rights.” I think that lawsuits like this serves as warning to all tabloids about spreading rumors about any celebrity not just Katie Holmes. Most tabloids make false allegations or exaggerated claims in order to make a profit. Hopefully with libel lawsuits on the rise, less tabloids will continue to lie to the public.