Mr. Queen Of Versailles Sues Doc's Filmmaker Over Defamation
When filmmaker Lauren Greenfield set out to make her documentary The Queen of Versailles, her goal was to capture the incredibly luxurious lifestyle of David and Jaqueline Siegel, who were preparing to build the largest single family private home in America, modeled after the French palace of Versailles. But then the housing crisis hit, and Mr. Siegel, whose fortune had been built on his expansive time-share operation, was hit hard.
In light of economic crisis, the Siegel family was forced to radically change their lifestyle and sell their $75 million American palace, which was still under construction. For her part, Greenfield found herself capturing every moment, from Jaqueline's attempts to buy her kids Christmas gifts at Wal-Mart, to the couple's mounting marital tension, and the growing business concerns of David and his company, Westgate Resorts. Watching the film, you clearly see David struggling to keep his company afloat, and personally I couldn't help but marvel at the access the Siegels continued to give to a documentarian in this dark time. Well, David Siegel is now insisting Greenfield did not have his approval, and so is suing for defamation.
THR reports that David Siegel claims Greenfield, who spent two years documenting the family complete with stacks of release forms, had no right to shoot on location at his Westgate Resorts properties because he did not sign off on it, his son Richard did. Despite Richard being the company's vice-president, David claims he does not have the authority to approve such things, releasing a statement that declares:
"The designation of 'vice president' is strictly honorary, unaccompanied by any of the traditional corporate authority such as a position might otherwise garner its occupant. Indeed, that title... has been bestowed upon approximately a dozen other individuals working for one of the distinct companies within the Westgate Resorts organization."
So, basically, David is throwing his son—who the film notes is the only business associate who backed the time-share mogul in his darkest hour—under the bus.
In response, Greenfield's defense declares that David's claims are a "flat out lie," adding, "The content of the film is the best evidence that David is lying."
Having already tackled the evidentiary hearing, the sides are waiting for a judge to weigh in on if the matter will move to arbitration.
Read more about the documentary, which is currently available streaming at Netflix, here.
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