Blog

Alan Dershowitz claims a fictional lawyer defamed him. The implications for writers are very real.

Aug 07 2020

Alan Dershowitz, who is a real lawyer, claims he has been defamed by Benjamin Dafoe, who is a fictional lawyer. “The Good Fight,” which streams on CBS All Access, frequently revolves around ripped-from-the-headlines events. On May 28, the legal drama aired an episode called “The Gang Discovers Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein,” about the wealthy sex offender who died in prison last year. On the show, Benjamin Dafoe, Epstein’s (fictional) former attorney, says he formed a very bad opinion of Epstein after “he ditched me for Dershowitz.” Then he adds: “At least I didn’t get a massage, like that shyster.”

In a letter sent to CBS and made public by Variety, Dershowitz’s lawyer claims that this episode is defamatory and constitutes “a direct attack on his professional reputation as an attorney and professor of law.”

…Dershowitz’s complaint, if successful, could pose a challenge to the vibrancy of … any creative work that includes interactions between fictional and real-life public figures…. Consider how many novels, plays, TV shows and movies would have to be canceled or dramatically clipped to protect famous people from being offended by such creative license. Fiction should be like Vegas: What happens there, stays there. Fictional characters can no more defame a real-life person than they can murder one.

More News Stories

error: