Former child star Amanda Bynes has made plenty of not-so-flattering headlines over the last year … and she’s now decided to sue two of the celebrity news publications covering her.
"I'm suing @usweekly & @perezhilton for continuing to act like I'm doing something wrong by tweeting and walking to photoshoots. F*** you!!!!,” she posted to her Twitter page on Thursday.
Ironically, it’s her Twitter account that’s been prompting a lot of the coverage in the first place. Over the last few months, the 26-year-old has been tweeting out photos of herself with multiple piercings, wacky new looks (including this one she dubbed “pudgy” on Tuesday), and an array of interesting statements, from the bizzare “I want @drake to murder my vagina”(last Thursday) to the oddly benign "Uh oh! Stained my shirt while getting ready...grrrrrrrrrr!" (this week). She has more than 453,000 Twitter followers.
With all eyes on the one-time Nickelodeon darling, celebrity news sites around the web – including Us Weekly – jumped all over a shot of Bynes walking through New York's Times Square on Tuesday wearing a velvet mini-skirt, fur-hooded jacket, and holding a shirt over her head. Perez Hilton, meanwhile interviewed two unnamed psychiatrists about whether or not “we” should be worried about the young star’s mental state.
According to litigation attorney Timothy Gorry, of Beverly Hills law firm Eisner Kahan Gorry Chapman Ross & Jaffe, a suit against these publications would be an uphill battle. “As long as they’re not posting anything knowingly false, the first amendment pretty much protects them. Truth is a defense to any kind of defamation.”
Gorry points out that Us Weekly writing about her Times Square activities and recounting her recent tweets is simply the publication reporting “observable facts.”
Perez Hilton’s piece, meanwhile, could fall into a bit more of a gray area, but, according to Gorry, he’s still more than likely in the clear.
Here’s an excerpt from Hilton’s story: "What happens with a lot of these celebrities is that, first of all they are exhausted. Their lives are exhausting. When you are sleep deprived, you get a little crazy. [They may also] self medicate,” one psychiatrist says. "She's been having this strange behavior on and off for approximately a year now. If she sat down on my couch, I would have to sort out the diagnosis from a number of possibilities,” explains the other.
“When someone starts editorializing, that’s opinion, and you’re getting closer to the line when you interview unattributed psychiatrists who have not met with her,” explains Gorry. “But their statements are general, they don’t say what a diagnosis would be and they’re trying to be careful. If she is going to take legal action against either, her best recourse would be to identify knowingly false statements meant to injure her. It’s pretty hard to do.”
The office of Bynes’ former attorney said it’s unclear as to whether she has new legal representation. An email to her most recent agent went unreturned. While Us Weekly would not comment on Bynes’ threat to sue, Hilton provided the following statement: "I used to consider Amanda Bynes a real-life friend. This saddens me. Seeing her in the state she's in now saddens me. A lot of her other former friends I've spoken to recently are also sad and feeling helpless. My heart goes out to her and also her family. Sincerely. I truly hope she gets better!"
The media frenzy around Bynes kicked off a year ago after she was arrested for DUI (and later took to Twitter to enlist the help of one President Barack Obama to fire the cop who arrested her). It was the first in a string of car accidents, arrests, and hit-and-run charges that year.
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