by Paul Alan Levy
Neil Meyer, an entertainment lawyer based in Beverly Hills, recently sent an oddly frivolous cease-and-desist letter to Lipstick Alley, an occasional client of ours that runs a message board devoted to discussions about athletes and other celebrities, with a particular focus on issues of interest to African-American women. He complained about a few postings commenting on a report about an actor named Chris Evans, apparently based on a report in a Hollywood gossip blog. Meyer’s letter accused Lipstick Alley of “publishing” these rumors, and threatened suit to hold it liable for defamation and right of publicity violations. And, like throwing red meat to the lions, at the same time that he was threatening suit, Meyer claimed that his threat was completely confidential and that Lipstick Alley was “specifically prohibited” from publishing or even describing the substance of his demand letter. Readers of this blog are familiar with the folly of that sort of claim.
In a letter sent to Meyer today, I pointed out his apparent ignorance of section 230, which protects Lipstick Alley from being sued over content that its users post, as well as certain other errors in the letter (such as referring to his client using both male and female pronouns). Given that the “Streisand effect” was named for a silly lawsuit by a Hollywood personality, you would think lawyers who practice in that community would know better.