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Jackson v. Mayweather

10 Cal. App. 5th 1240 (2017)

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Jackson v. Mayweather

California Court of Appeal

10 Cal. App. 5th 1240 (2017)

Facts

World-famous boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (defendant) and aspiring model Shantel Jackson (plaintiff) were a highly publicized celebrity couple. Jackson attained a widespread social media following and appeared on radio and television. But Jackson said Mayweather was physically abusive, and the relationship ended. When Jackson posted a photo with rapper Nelly on her social-media pages, Mayweather threatened to post nude photos of Jackson asleep unless she removed her photo. Jackson refused. Mayweather responded with posts saying he and Jackson split up “because she got an abortion, and I’m totally against killing babies. She killed our twin babies.” Mayweather posted a sonogram showing twin fetuses and a medical report confirming Jackson’s pregnancy, which tabloids republished. Mayweather also discussed Jackson’s abortion on the radio and said she had extensive cosmetic surgery. Jackson sued for defamation, invasion of privacy, and infliction of emotional distress. Mayweather asked the court to strike Jackson’s claims under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, arguing that abortion is a topic of public interest and that Jackson had surrendered her privacy rights by dating him, making herself newsworthy, and sharing details about their relationship with the public. Mayweather also argued his statements were truthful, not malicious, and protected speech. Jackson countered that the basis of her claims—Mayweather’s disregard for her medical privacy—had nothing to do with the public abortion debate and exceeded the bounds of legitimate public interest. The trial court denied the request to strike, and Mayweather appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Perluss, J.)

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