After receiving a demand from an attorney representing Morgan Freeman for a retraction of a CNN story detailing allegations of sexual misconduct by the actor, as we reported earlier this week, CNN drew a line in the sand today.
“CNN’s legal team on Thursday defiantly told Morgan Freeman that the network isn’t afraid to go to court with him, following the actor’s attempts to poke holes in the cable channel’s report alleging he harassed at least eight women throughout his career,” The Daily Beast reports.
“In a letter to … Freeman’s attorney on Thursday, CNN senior VP of legal David Vigilante pushed back against the actor’s camp’s claims that the network’s reporting was flawed, saying CNN doesn’t fear a court battle because of California’s strong ‘anti-SLAAP’ law against suits aimed at burdening critics with legal costs until they bow out,” the story reports.
The report quotes the letter from CNN’s Vigilante saying: “This law requires an award of attorney’s fees to the prevailing defendant. CNN has successfully pursued this remedy in the past, and will not hesitate to do so here.”
The CNN letter argues that the previous letter from attorney Robert Schwartz, who represents Freeman, was “designed for press consumption, it is rife with empty speculation, overheated rhetoric, and in some instances plainly false assertions.”
The CNN letter adds: “The overheated protestations in your letter do not cast any shadow on the central gravamen of CNN’s story — that Morgan Freeman engaged in a pattern of behavior that demeaned and sexualized women, whether or not they were in his employ.”