Defamation lawsuit against Meghan Markle’s sister launched by federal judge
Meghan Markle won the defamation lawsuit her ex-sister Samantha Markle brought against her in 2021.
On Thursday, a judge dismissed Samantha’s case, saying Meghan was not guilty because every statement she made that Samantha disputed was an obvious opinion and therefore did not meet the criteria for defamation.
Part of the lawsuit concerned the 2020 book “Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family,” written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand. The book was clearly published as an unauthorized biography, but Samantha claimed that Meghan “provided false information to the book through her agent and publicist”, according to court documents.
The judge dismissed that request with prejudice because Meghan did not write the book.
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The other instance in which Samantha claims Meghan defamed her was during the Duchess’ 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey.
In this interview, Meghan was asked about Samantha’s story, “The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister”. She said it would be “very hard to tell everything when you don’t know me” and claimed she “grew up as an only child”.
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She went on to say that she wasn’t close to her half-sister and had barely seen her for the past few decades, and that “She changed her last name to Markle, and I think that she was only in her 50s when I started dating Harry. And so I think that says enough.”
Samantha claimed that Meghan’s portrayal of her in this interview caused her fanbase to turn against her, and she was “seen as an opportunist trying to cash in on her sister’s success and fame”.
These statements “caused irreparable harm, injury and damage to (Samantha’s) reputation, as well as anxiety and emotional distress,” according to court documents. “She received hate mail, continued negative press and was harassed by one of (Meghan’s) fans.”
She also said she was unable to do her job as a mental health counselor because Meghan had done too much damage to her reputation.
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In the judge’s decision, it was said that Meghan’s statements during the interview could not be characterized as defamatory because “here, a reasonable listener would not think that (Meghan) was suggesting that she has no half-siblings, which (Samantha) has none”. doesn’t actually exist, or that (Samantha) isn’t related to her….
“As a reasonable listener would understand, (Meghan) is simply expressing an opinion about her childhood and her relationship with her half-siblings.”
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Samantha’s claims regarding Winfrey’s interview were dismissed without prejudice, and the judge wrote that “she will have a final opportunity to make a claim upon which relief may be awarded”.