Actor Jared Leto has filed a lawsuit against entertainment site TMZ for publishing a video he alleges was obtained illegally. TMZ’s parent company, Warner Bros. Entertainment, is also named in the suit.
According to court documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, TMZ is accused of publishing the controversial video, which shows the actor making negative remarks about Taylor Swift’s album. The video in question features Leto and an engineer at a home studio critiquing various songs off of Taylor Swift’s “1989” album. Leto is shown as admiring Swift’s work, even going so far as exclaiming (perhaps jokingly) that he wanted to “steal” one of her finer moments of production work. But towards the end of the video, he said the following:”I mean, f— her,” he says. “I don’t give a f— about her,” and it was these words that quickly went viral.
Whether or not he meant the comments in jest is up for debate, but as a result of the leaked footage, the 30 Seconds To Mars frontman took to Twitter to apologise to Swift for his words.
The truth is I think @taylorswift13 is amazing + an incredible example of what’s possible. If I hurt her or her fans my sincerest apologies.
— JARED LETO (@JaredLeto) December 7, 2015
He then said he was “morally driven” to file the suit after the entertainment site allegedly chose to publish the footage, despite knowing it had been stolen.
“I have chosen to file this lawsuit not because I want to, but in hopes it will encourage more people to stop trafficking in stolen goods, to follow proper legal procedure and so that it may motivate additional consideration for the harm these acts can create, especially when the only intention is to simply further the bottom line for the companies and corporations that commit these acts,” Leto said in a statement. The cynics claim that he only opted to file the suit to maintain his reputation after the backlash became very intense, but the bigger issue here is that of privacy. Leto said he chose to take legal action because the publication of the clip was a direct invasion of his own and he wasn’t prepared to stand for it.
“Let’s be clear. This was stolen footage. This was an invasion of privacy. And it was both legally and morally wrong. Regardless of who we are, we should all be able to talk freely in the privacy of our own homes without the fear that our unfiltered thoughts or actions will get broadcast to the world. We have the right to privacy and security and when we don’t have protections in place to safeguard those things, we lose the freedom to speak loudly and clearly – right or wrong – about anything and everything we choose to.”
He is, of course, correct. Yes, celebrities have certain obligations to fill but that doesn’t make them public property. They are absolutely entitled to express any opinion they like, without fear of said comments ending up at the mercy of the Taylor Swift fandom. So you can’t blame the actor for choosing to go down this route.
As of now, TMZ continues to show the Leto footage and the site has yet to respond to the claims.