The California Court of Appeal will decide if Olivia de Havilland can file her lawsuit against FX Network and Ryan Murphy Productions upon hearing the arguments for both cases. Havilland’s lawsuit concerns the way she was portrayed in the FX show Feud.


Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones played Havilland on the series, where she partook in “selling gossip in order to promote herself at the Academy Awards, criticizing fellow actors, using vulgarity and cheap language.” Havilland did not appreciate this foul-mouthed depiction of her, claiming it marred her reputation while also cashing in on her name to promote the show.


Last August, FX tried to cite California’s anti-SLAPP statute, which dismisses lawsuits that could impair free speech in order to stop Havilland’s, though such efforts were unsuccessful. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Holly Kendig gave Havilland’s lawsuit permission to proceed the following month.

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Content creators, including Netflix and the MPAA, are concerned the nature of this lawsuit will interfere with the ability to create works based upon real events in the future. Both parties jointly stated: “If creators of expressive works that dramatize stories about real people can face actionable right of publicity claims unless they obtain the consent of everyone relevant to the story, fictionalized stories about real people will be stifled by censorship attempts launched by our most popular, powerful and controversial celebrities and politicians—and limited to depicting only their (likely highly sanitized)—version of events.”

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