Playwright David Bar Katz, a friend of deceased actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, has filed a lawsuit against the National Enquirer, over a claim that Bar Katz and Hoffman were gay lovers.
The lawsuit, filed in New York Supreme Court on Wednesday, vehemently denies the claims that Bar Katz and the “Capote” actor were sexually involved, or that he had witnessed Hoffman using drugs.
“The story is a complete fabrication: There was no interview,” the lawsuit reads. “Bar Katz and Hoffman were never lovers. Bar Katz did not see Hoffman freebasing cocaine the night before he died, or at any other time. Bar Katz never saw Hoffman use heroin or cocaine.”
Hoffman was found dead in his New York apartment on Sunday of an apparent heroin overdose at age 46. The actor had sought treatment for drug abuse last year.
“The History of Invulnerability” writer Bar Katz, who discovered Hoffman’s body, is seeking $50 million in the lawsuit, which lists National Enquirer owner American Media as defendant.
“The article is just disgusting. Here you have Phil’s family and his friends grieving, and the Enquirer comes along seeking to make a buck through putrid lies,” Bar Katz’s attorney, Judd Burstein, told TheWrap in a statement. “Worse still, it appears that the Enquirer sent out a press release hyping the story so that it could sell more copies of the magazine. I do not know how these people can sleep at night.”
National Enquirer had no comment for TheWrap on the lawsuit.
The lawsuit concerns a story in the Feb. 17 edition of the National Enquirer, claiming that the tabloid had conducted an exclusive interview with Bar Katz, in which he supposedly said that he and Hoffman were gay lovers, and that he had seen the actor freebase cocaine on the night before his death, as well as use heroin on a number of occasions.
The complaint calls the Enquirer’s story “one of the most reprehensible examples of yellow journalism.”
Bar Katz is seeking compensatory damages of no less than $5 million, and punitive damages of no less than $45 million.