Ryan Murphy’s super-gay FX period piece Feud was all about the legendary rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, but that drama did not stop when the limited series ended. The 102-year-old actress Olivia de Havilland, who was portrayed by Catherine Zeta Jones on the show, sued FX over the show’s portrayal of her, but now her legal battle has gone out with not a bang, but a whimper.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, de Havilland objected to the show’s portrayal of her as a “vulgar hypocrite and gossip” and claimed that Feud violated her “right of publicity and false light.” De Havilland was particularly incensed that the show took creative license with her own feud with her sister, Joan Fontaine. On the show, Zeta Jones call her sister a “bitch,” while in real life she referred to her as a “dragon lady.”
While a Los Angeles judge initially let the trial move forward, it was later dismissed based on First Amendment grounds. Still, de Havilland wasn’t willing to give up and brought the case to both California’s Supreme Court and the US Supreme Court, which is the height of pettiness. She argued that the show’s representation of her demonstrated “actual malice,” which FX contested, arguing that Feud’s dialogue was not “highly offensive to a reasonable person.” The Supreme Court agreed and denied the request to review de Havilland’s appeal, effectively killing the actress’ lawsuit once and for all. Sorry girl, looks like you were carrying after all.
Now that this is done, can we please get another season of Feud, maybe one that focuses on drama that’s a bit more timely. Feud: Lindsay vs. Hilary, anyone?