Update on Olivia de Havilland vs. FX

I wrote a post a few days ago detailing how I would be going to Los Angeles in the final days of the Olivia de Havilland vs. FX trial, and I have been paying close attention to the case ever since. An update to the case has recently been posted to the Los Angeles Superior Court website–FX’s motion to strike was denied by Judge Holly Kendig on September 30, but on October 10, FX filed an appeal.

The trial is still scheduled to start on November 27 as of right now, but I wanted to share the details of the pending appeal with you readers, and have a discussion about its merits.

FX asked for a motion to strike based on the fact that the case was based on protected rights. Kendig agreed, but said that de Havilland’s side could be successful in court, so she let it stand. In a declaration by James Berkley, FX’s senior research analyst for the case, FX disagrees. Berkley takes on de Havilland’s assertions that she “refused to use what she knew about the private or public lives of other actors (which was a considerable amount) to promote her own press attention and celebrity status” but “Feud creates the public impression that she was a hypocrite, selling gossip in order to promote herself at the Academy Awards.”

In his declaration, Berkley says that he has “uncovered numerous examples of [de Havilland] giving interviews in print or in video, appearing on television, and otherwise publicly discussing her life, her film career, the role of women in Hollywood, and her friendships with other Hollywood celebrities, including but not limited to her friendship with her fellow actress, Bette Davis.”


He names several online videos as examples, which I provide below. Now, readers, discussion time. Do you think these videos are examples of de Havilland “selling gossip,” or “promoting her own press attention or celebrity status?” Do the videos invalidate de Havilland’s statement, and does the appeal have merit?

Please leave comments with your thoughts, and let’s talk about this!



14 responses to “Update on Olivia de Havilland vs. FX

  1. I do not. I really want to see this go to trial. Will she be there? I hope so, if so, what a heck of a Hollywood event will this be.

  2. Yeah I tend to agree with you. The defendants seem to be scrounging for anything they can find on that count and it looks like they’re not finding anything substantial. I’m not sure if she’ll be there–I know she wants to be but the trek from Paris is going to be hard on her.

  3. Olivia is not furthering herself as she is playing to her fans…as ALL actors do! How she is portrayed in the series “FEUD” is so much different than the reality…

  4. Thanks for your comment. I think you’re right that she’s playing to her fans, and also I’m not convinced that this is gossip. She’s speaking to her own experience, and if simply mentioning someone else’s name is gossip, then we’re all in big trouble!

  5. Absolutely not, in my opinion. There’s no trace of malevolance, not even of gossip in these clips, she only talks respectfully about some of her celebrated costars as every moviestar who has been in the business for so long is expected to do.
    Let’s see what happens, thank you Lara for covering it and let us know!

  6. Yeah, I agree. I don’t see how this could be interpreted as gossip. It’s her own experience.

  7. No, the videos and her appearances do not negate her stance at all. If that were the case then anyone can say or print anything about a celebrity simply because he’she IS a celebrity.


  8. Yes, exactly. It seems that if this is the most incriminating thing that FX can find, I don’t see much hope for the defense at least as it relates to the appeal. We’ll see at the trial, but the more I follow the case the more optimistic I am for Olivia’s side. No counting chickens, but I think she has hope.

  9. Hey Lara, I’m so glad to see you’ll be blogging this trial so that we can all keep updated as the drama unfolds. Keep up the good work!

  10. Everett Engbers

    Based on their defense, FX better settled out of court.

  11. There is some constitutional First Amendment stickiness that makes this case interesting and not an open and shut case in either direction. It will be interesting to see what happens.

  12. Virginia Forest

    “Gossip” is repeating stories about other people. In these clips, Olivia de Havilland speaks of her own experiences, and demonstrates respect, grace, and humor.

  13. I agree with you. The defense seems to be digging pretty deep to find something…anything. Olivia is not a gossip, she has never been a gossip–they’re not going to find anything substantial because there is nothing to find.

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