TV-related lawsuits often tie into copyright issues, with writers feeling as if other creators ripped off their work in one way or another. And while various Netflix shows have been at the center of such cases, it's latest issues are on a wholly different level, and the streaming giant is now facing its second defamation lawsuit in a month. Netflix is being sued by high-profile attorney and Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz over the 2020 documentary series Filthy Rich, which focused on survival stories from victims of the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Jeffrey Epstein's infamous fall from power was well-documented throughout 2019, up to and beyond his controversial suicide in jail in August of that year. The docuseries Filthy Rich featured multiple women sharing dark and disturbing tales of a variety of abuses they allegedly suffered from Epstein and others, and it's specifically victim Virginia Giuffre's claims that have sparked Alan Dershowitz's lawsuit, which is seeking $80 million in compensation, according to AP.
At one point during Filthy Rich, Virginia Giuffre alleged that when she was 17 years old, she was hired to be a masseuse for Jeffrey Epstein, and she then claims she was groomed to have sex with the affluent financier and other men. Alan Dershowitz was specifically named as one of those other men, which is where part of the lawsuit comes into play.
The complaint filed in Miami federal court on May 26 claims that Netflix defamed Alan Dershowitz with Virginia Giuffre's stories, deeming them false assertions that the lawyer had sex with one of Epstein's victims. It wasn't the first time that those accusations came up, with Dershowitz having denied them previously. Dershowitz also alleges in the lawsuit that Netflix execs were aware that the outspoken Giuffre's claims were untrue and used them in the docuseries anyway.
Beyond that, Alan Dershowitz also claims in the lawsuit that Netflix intentionally misled him regarding how his appearance would be utilized within Filthy Rich. He was one of the lawyers who helped craft the deal years back that allowed Jeffrey Epstein to sidestep a federal case by pleading guilty to prostitution charges on a state level in Florida.
In response to the lawsuit, a spokesperson for Netflix stated the following:
[The lawsuit] is without merit, and we will vigorously defend our partners and the series.
It's unclear why Alan Dershowitz's lawsuit is only being filed now, considering Filthy Rich first hit Netflix back in May 2020. It's also unclear how far this case will go, considering the sensitive nature of the claims made on both sides, and whether or not it will make it to trial or will be settled behind the scenes.
Filthy Rich is currently streaming on Netflix, with lots of other big shows on the way to the 2021 Summer TV schedule.