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Many individuals would love to read about themselves dating a Hollywood star. But not Mike Lindell. The MyPillow CEO filed suit earlier this year when the Daily Mail published a story claiming he once dated 30 Rock actress Jane Krakowski for nine months. Lindell may insist the article is untrue, but even so, a New York federal judge says it’s not defamatory. On Friday, Lindell’s complaint was dismissed.
Lindell sued over an article that claimed he wooed Krakowski with champagne and various bottles of liquor. Lindell, represented by Charles Harder, says he’s been clean and sober for over a decade as well as a man of Christian faith. As U.S. District Court Judge Paul Crotty puts it, Lindell essentially alleges the article “disparaged his moral character.”
That’s arguable, but what Lindell needed to carry his lawsuit was a false statement exposing him to public hatred, shame, obloquy, contumely, odium, contempt, ridicule, aversion, ostracism, degradation, or disgrace. Or something like that.
The judge has trouble finding defamatory meaning in a gossipy story about a monogamous Hollywood romance.
“Even assuming the romance never happened, the above description would not defame Lindell,” writes Crotty. “Dating an actress — secret or not — would not cause ‘public hatred,’ ‘shame,’ ‘ridicule,’ or any similar feeling towards Lindell. Both Lindell and Krakowski are unmarried adults, and Lindell’s alleged actions typify those of a person in a consenting relationship.”
The judge can find no more defamatory meaning from buying alcohol for a dating partner.
“The purchase of alcohol is a legal and ordinary act,” he writes. “If even more problematic depictions of alcohol consumption, such as underage drinking or alcoholism, routinely fail to qualify as defamatory in New York courts, surely no reasonable reader could find it offensive to exchange champagne or other bottles of liquor as gifts between romantic partners.”
Judge Crotty also takes up analysis over whether there’s any defamatory implication he’s a hypocrite, and doesn’t find that, at least in the realm of romance and drinking.
Pillows and politics, that’s for another day.
Here’s the full opinion:
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