Entertainment Law practitioners in the United States don’t all that often see their clients involved in libel cases involving the nation’s top political leaders, thanks to decisions like New York Times v Sullivan. The absence, thankfully, of official libel laws also makes it all but unheard of for American political leaders to pursue legal actions with officials receiving great reputational protection. And for those who love and make movies, it’s also rare on this side of the pond to need to ponder whether certain cinematic characters ought to wear the proverbial black or white hats.
So let’s keep to a minimum the curious consideration under way in Turkish courts: Is the slimy character Gollum from the mega-hit Hobbit movies a bad or good guy and does a village doctor deserve prison time under Turkey’s laws for allegedly insulting that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by posting images of him alongside the fictional ring-snatcher from JRR Tolkien’s fantasy novels?
The issue perplexed a local magistrate sufficiently that he’s called in an array of experts to advise. Famous film director Peter Jackson also has weighed in, decrying the prosecution.
OK, here’s where we slip on that magic jewelry and slip away ….