HFPA Declares a Victory in Legal War with Former Publicist

A California Superior Court judge has thrown out defamation claims by Michael Russell.


The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is declaring a legal victory in a ruling Monday in the case brought against the group by former publicist Michael Russell.

A California Superior Court judge, Kevin Brazile, has thrown out claims by Russell for defamation and interference with Russell’s ability to retain and recruit clients, as well as a claim against HFPA president Philip Berk personally, under the anti-SLAPP law which protects the right to free speech, according to a HFPA press release.

 "As most of the remaining claims concern employment issues, we are confident that we will remove them by demurrer or motion for summary judgment,” HFPA attorney Joseph Campo said in a statement. “This baseless complaint will not reach the jury."   

  A call to an attorney representing Russell was not immediately returned.