China-based Kylin Pictures won the latest round in its ongoing battle with fellow Chinese film production company Bliss Media, as the Los Angeles Superior Court granted Kylin’s anti-SLAPP motion and dismissed a defamation suit filed by Bliss related to comments Kylin CFO Leo Shi Young made about the company.
Young called Bliss CEO Wei Han a “swindler” at a press conference in China, which was reprinted in Chinese media, which prompted a defamation suit from Bliss. Those comments were made in China — a country without free speech protections — but Kylin argued that they were protected speech, filing an anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) motion, claiming Bliss’ suit was an attempt to chill free speech in violation of California law.
Judge Terry A. Green granted Kylin’s motion last Thursday, dismissing Bliss’ suit, according to a court order obtained by TheWrap.
Kylin attorney Andrew Brettler told TheWrap that the “the court ruled that none of the alleged statements from the press conference in Beijing were defamatory as a matter of law.” He added that Kylin is entitled to recover costs and fees associated with the motion.
The war of words between Kylin and Bliss stemmed from a dispute over Kylin’s production credit in the Chinese theatrical version of Lionsgate’s “Hacksaw Ridge,” which the company was a co-financing partner on. While Kylin’s credit shows up in the U.S. and Australian versions, it was missing in Chinese theaters. Kylin is suing Bliss in Shanghai Court over the credit issue.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.