In what was hailed as a landmark decision, the US District Court for the Central District of California, Los Angeles, decided in the case of Shatner vs. Buttick, that the use of satire is a form of assault that can cause immeasurable harm to an entertainer’s psyche, and as such, satirists can now be sued not only for libel but assault as well.
The original lawsuit was filed by William Shatner against Zefron Buttick in Los Angeles Superior Court way back in 2004 when Shatner suffered extreme embarrassment and loss of employment due to Buttick’s series of stories attacking Shatner for everything from being a homosexual to accusing him of stealing other people’s writings for his spoken word albums. All of it was done under the guise of satire.
Celebrities in Los Angeles and all over the country were said to be elated with the ruling. Said Ricky Martin, “this couldn’t have come at a better time for me. My only regret is that I should have waited to ward off the onslaught of negative press about my coming out instead of opting for going public and taking my knocks.”
Some celebrities, however, were upset to hear the news. Film star, Pauly Shore, is threatening to file his own lawsuit to have the Shatner suit overturned. Said Shore, “I’ve tried everything, including making a movie where I fake my own death, and nothing gets a rise out of anyone. With this recent ruling, I may as well just fake my own death again, cause this is sure to put the final nail in the coffin that houses my career.”
Meanwhile, satirists nationwide are scheduling meetings with their attorneys to figure out what they can do to side-step this ruling. Many are so used to making fun of things that they are satirizing the very Judges who ruled on the case, which might not be such a smart move in the grand scheme of things.