A Manhattan Supreme Court judge has dismissed a defamation case that was brought in by an ex-producer of ABC’s “The View” against Rosie O’Donnell, who happens to be the former co-host of the show.
Judge Shlomo Hagler had tossed the case, filed by Jennifer Shepard-Brookman in the year 2015, a news source had reported. Brookman had accused O’Donnell of being a total control freak who also had falsely accused her in front of other colleagues of leaking important and sensitive information about “The View” to the media.
But after these two years, Hagler had dismissed the case, partially because “the pleadings are inadequate to show that defendant’s statements [were] made with ‘[a] high degree of awareness of their probable falsity.'”
The lawsuit had stemmed from an editorial meeting back in 2015, during which these two women had discussed the sensitive leaks to the media. Brookman had said that the leaks were “out of control this year.”
“You don’t think the leak is here?” O’Donnell had responded, according to an entertainment news source. “Hmm—that’s interesting. Then I would like to know how Radar Online managed to write an article that had, word-for-word, the conversation about the Beverly Johnson interview that happened on a telephone call including three other people and me.”
“Are you saying that one of us is the leak?” Brookman had asked.
Later, another of the staffer had approached O’Donnell to say that he was not the source of the leaks.
“I know it wasn’t you,” O’Donnell had said to him. “I know it was Jennifer.”
Brookman, who was later suspended and then fired too due to the fiasco, sued O’Donnell for slander by accusing her of being the original source of media leaks.
Hagler had addressed the editorial meeting in his decision, writing, “Here, the use of the wor[d] ‘maybe’ makes it clear that any reasonable listener would regard defendant’s statement as non-factual. At most, [O’Donnell’s] statement constitutes rhetorical hyperbole which cannot form the basis of a claim for defamation.”
A representative for O’Donnell said after Monday’s court decision that “Ms. O’Donnell is gratified that the court, in dismissing Jennifer Brookman’s defamation complaint against her in its entirety, recognized that Ms. Brookman’s claim was without merit.”
Brookman’s attorney, Brian Kennedy, had also said that his client fully respects the court’s opinion.
“My client filed this case on principle because she didn’t think Ms. O’Donnell should be able to get away with the kinds of false accusations against her,” Kennedy said to the news source. “We respect the court’s opinion … Ms. O’Donnell knows what she said.”