The long legal battle between Olivia de Havilland and FX/Ryan Murphy started last year when she clutched and crushed her pearls (RIP those pearls in the above picture) over Catherine Zeta-Jones’ portrayal of her in Feud: Bette and Joan. Olivia thought that Ryan and Co. made her look like a catty gossip, and she felt like it was putting a crack in her image. Olivia also denied ever calling her sister Joan Fontaine a “bitch.” She called her a “babe,” okay!? Olivia filed a lawsuit and after it was thrown out of court after court, it’s been thrown out of the highest court in the land. You might think this means that Olivia’s fight against FX is done, but I’m not so sure. Hell hath no fury like an old rich woman who both has all the time in the world and is running out of time. Lady Justice may have tied Olivia’s hands, but she still gonna git you, Murphy!
Olivia sued Ryan Murphy Productions and FX in July 2017 for “infringement of common law right of publicity, invasion of privacy and unjust enrichment.” She wanted Ryan and Co. to not use her likeness again and also wanted money. Olivia filed the suit in Los Angeles Superior Court and wanted it wrapped up by her 102nd birthday. That didn’t happen. Los Angeles Superior Court moved the case to The California Case of Appeals, where it was thrown out.
The appeals court in California said that because of the First Amendment, Olivia doesn’t have the right to dictate a creator’s portrayal of a living person, and also didn’t think the portrayal of her in Feud was offensive enough for a lawsuit. Olivia wasn’t done and took to the California Supreme Court, and after they threw it out, she and her lawyers went all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States.
The Hollywood Reporter says that SCOTUS has refused to review the case and they didn’t give a reason why. Olivia and her lawyers aren’t happy, of course, and gave this statement after SCOTUS dared to shoo Olivia de Havilland away.
“We and Miss de Havilland are disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court passed on this opportunity to confirm that the First Amendment does not protect the publication of intentional lies in any medium, including so called docudramas. The California Court of Appeal has turned the First Amendment upside down and without doubt more harm to individuals and public deception will result. One day someone else who is wronged for the sake of Hollywood profits will have the courage to stand on the shoulders of Miss de Havilland and fight for the right to defend a good name and legacy against intentional, unconsented exploitation and falsehoods. Miss de Havilland hopes she will live to see the day when such justice is done.”
Because Olivia has run out of legal options, Ryan Murphy might think that she’s finally going to drop it and he won’t have to look over his shoulder every five minutes and can fire the Bloodhounds he hired to sniff the air for any sign of Jean Nate (hey, even old rich ladies wear the fine fragrance that is Jean Nate). But no, Ryan should get a Go Pro permanently attached to his shoulder and double up on the Bloodhounds, because Olivia’s coming for him. The SCOTUS justices should watch themselves too, because Olivia’s also coming for them. I pity the arm muscles of the bodyguards who are going to have to hold back Olivia and a fully healed Ruth Bader Ginsburg as they go at each other.