The Hollywood Reporter has more on the Ryan O’Neal/Andy Warhol/Farah Fawcett portrait story. O’Neal won a ruling that allows his defamation suit to go forward but the accused slanderer, Craig Nevius, has a good lawyer who released this statement:
The Court correctly found that O’Neal’s lawsuit is aimed at my client’s speech about matters of public interest. That important speech was this: yes, for years Farrah Fawcett had in her possession two valuable portraits of her done by Andy Warhol, she repeatedly stated that she owned both of them, she died with both of them hanging on her wall, she left nothing to O’Neal in her will and a year after her death, one of the portraits ended up hanging on O’Neal’s wall. The Court repeatedly quizzed O’Neal’s lawyer about how it got there. O’Neal and his lawyer have no answer to that question.
Based on the overwhelming evidence that Mr. Nevius had at the time he spoke, it was imminently reasonable to conclude that Mr. O’Neal took something that does not belong to him. Thus, the Court’s conclusion that my client could have possibly had a state of mind that resembles anything close to constitutional actual malice when he spoke is simply incorrect.
We will immediately appeal and we are highly confident the ruling will be reversed. Meanwhile, the action by the University of Texas against Mr. O’Neal – an action that exactly contends that O’Neal took a Warhol portrait that did not belong to him – is going forward and may very well prove my client’s statement was true while our appeal is pending.