British comedian sued by ex-husband for using stories about him on stage
British comedian Louise Beamont (stage name Louise Reay) is being sued by her husband for defamation.
Herex-husband, Thomas Reay, who she married in 2013, is suing her for breach of privacy, to the tune of£30,000, potentially leaving her bankrupt if she doesn't win thecase.
The comedian says the show – which she took to Edinburgh Fringe Festival – featured very little in the way of details: "Duringthat show, I referred to my husband a couple of times – perhaps 2minutes' worth of reference in a 50-minute show.
"The main gist ofthose references was to tell the audience how sad I was that mymarriage had broken down recently."
Libellawyer Mark Stephens told the Guardian: “There’sa long history of British juries – before they were abolished [indefamation cases] – not finding in favour of claimants when it’sa joke.
"This will be the first time [the issue comes] before a judge.It’s going to be a test of whether the British judiciaryunderstands a joke – I mean that seriously.
"It’sa test case for the judge to see whether they will follow the sameroute as juries used to take, which was to throw libel cases whichwere based on humour out on their ear. Judges have traditionally hadsomething of a humourless side."
Louise has launched a gofundme page for anyone who wishes to assist her withlegal fees and, at the time of writing, has raised £8,800 of a £10,000goal.
Her GoFundMe page reads: “Thishas become a free speech issue - and free speech means everything tome. As a Chinese speaker, I’ve spent many years in China andexperienced the social impact when people do not have this freedom.I’ve also spent many years making documentaries for the BBC withvulnerable people whose voices are rarely heard.”
Ina statement from Thomas Reay's solicitors, it was claimed the routinehad caused Mr. Reay emotional distress: “Beamontrepeatedly performed a comedy show which identified our clientverbally and, in still and moving images, contained privateinformation about him and his relationship with Ms Beamont, and madevery serious and inflammatory allegations of wrongdoing against him.
"These allegations included the entirely false suggestion that ourclient’s relationship with Ms Beamont was an abusive one.”Tags: