Getty Family Member Says FX Series 'Trust' Is Defamatory, Threatens Legal Action

John Paul Getty III's sister says the upcoming series makes it appear as if her family was complicit in his 1973 kidnapping.
Courtesy of Oliver Upton/FX
Harris Dickinson (left) and Donald Sutherland on FX's 'Trust'

John Paul Getty III's sister is demanding that FX hand over episodes of its upcoming drama series Trust for her review, claiming the show makes it appear as if her family was complicit in his infamous 1973 kidnapping.

In a letter obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Ariadne Getty's lawyer Martin Singer claims the series is "a cruel and mean-spirited defamatory depiction" of the family. 

"It is ironic that you have titled your television series Trust," Singer writes in the letter. "More fitting titles would be Lies or Mistrust, since the defamatory story it tells about the Gettys colluding in the kidnapping is false and misleading, and viewers rightly ought to mistrust it."

Danny Boyle's 10-part series, which is set to premiere March 25, stars Donald Sutherland and begins with the kidnapping of the then-16-year-old Getty. 

Singer says Trust defames the Gettys by portraying them as cooperating in a kidnapping that left a teenage family member mutilated in order to "dupe" J. Paul Getty out of millions. Even if the series doesn't explicitly state Ariadne and others were complicit, Singer argues that it is defamatory for even implying it.

"You are using a false version of the Getty family tragedy for entertainment for your own financial gain," Singer writes. "That is indeed ironic, since one of the themes of Trust is to portray my client's family as greed-driven."

Singer says Ariadne wasn't consulted for the series, and he is demanding that FX immediately make all of the episodes available for review.

FX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The network's attorneys are currently gearing up for appellate arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit from actress Olivia de Havilland, who claims the FX series Feud: Bette and Joan painted her in a false light and violated her rights of privacy and publicity.

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