In Torts, we discuss defamation and the strict limitations surrounding public figures when pursuing claims against people who say things that hurt their good reputation. Bill O’Reilly, a former prominent news commentator, filed a $5 million-dollar lawsuit against a former politician who posted statements on Facebook regarding his former girlfriend’s treatment by Fox News after she made harassment accusations.
The complaint states: “‘Plaintiff [O’Reilly] seeks damages for the public hatred, ridicule, disgrace, and permanent harm to his professional and personal reputations as a result of Defendant Panter’s publication of knowingly defamatory statements about Plaintiff, which were made with actual malice, as well as Defendant Panter’s intentional infliction of emotional distress upon Plaintiff.'”
Claims made by public figures are difficult, but not impossible, to prove because they require a showing of malice. Here, the complaint alleges defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.