After first becoming famous as a wrestler and later segueing to a successful acting career, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has now been declared a “journalist.”
The New York Post’s Page Six reports that this week’s court ruling came in a case involving an HBO documentary produced by Johnson about troubled teens who choose military-style “boot camp” instead of jail.
“HBO had been subpoenaed by a former Miami-Dade County correctional officer, Christy Laster, who appeared in Johnson’s 2017 documentary, ‘Rock and a Hard Place,'” The Post reports. “The year after the flick aired, Laster was charged with accepting bribes, extorting cadets and stealing valuables following an internal probe into reports of thefts, and her lawyers said in March court papers that outtakes from the documentary would help prove her innocence.”
But a judge in Manhattan Supreme Court ruled this week that Johnson qualifies as a reporter, and his work is protected by journalistic privilege when it comes to the film, The Post reports.
The Post cites court papers saying Laster’s team argued “that the involvement of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson rendered the project a ‘celebrity reality TV show’ as opposed to a ‘documentary’ entitled to protection.”
HBO refused to hand over the footage, arguing that it was protected by the state’s journalistic Shield Law.
“Judge Carol Edmead agreed, saying it doesn’t take much to be considered a journalist in New York,” The Post reports.
In the ruling, Edmead reportedly wrote: “The statute very broadly defines a ‘professional journalist’ as anyone gathering ‘news intended for dissemination to the public’ in some sort of professional capacity.”