Rosie O’Donnell’s Day on the Courthouse Steps
For high-profile individuals, a business dispute takes on additionally threatening risk. As public interest is unusually piqued, the opposition can use the celebrity’s notoriety as a weapon to pressure settlement or quick capitulation. Stars from Teri Hatcher and Jennifer Lopez to Selena Gomez are just a few who’ve recently suffered the unwanted publicity that comes with business litigation.
Just prior to trial in the Rosie magazine case, the plaintiff – publisher Gruner + Jahr – made headlines by launching a vindictive whispering campaign in order to make Ms. O’Donnell herself the issue rather than the business facts of the lawsuit. The tabloids had a field day.
LEVICK launched a significantly more credible counter-attack on Ms. O’Donnell’s behalf, which focused on allegations of fraudulent financial record-keeping by the plaintiff. This “Enron Meets Publishing” theme overwhelmed the anti-Rosie innuendos and dominated trial coverage in the U.S. and Europe.
The plaintiff’s case failed and Rosie O’Donnell’s popularity among her audiences was only reinforced.