- Splash News & Picture Agency filed for bankruptcy after Meghan Markle sued it
- Splash admitted that its financial problems are due to the global pandemic and two ongoing litigation cases
- The paparazzi agency already promised that it will never take photos of Markle and her family again
Meghan Markle sent a major paparazzi agency into backruptcy after she sued it for invasion of privacy.
The Duchess of Sussex sued Splash News & Picture Agency, a prominent paparazzi shop also notable for suing celebrities who post copyrighted images of themselves. Previous reports claimed Markle won the legal battle and months after, the agency has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The outlet noted that the global pandemic that had stars staying indoors was among the reasons for the bankruptcy and the agency’s legal battle against Markle was another. Splash has already defaulted on a loan worth nearly $1 million and is seeking the protection of a Nevada bankruptcy court.
“Splash’s financial problems stem from three sources,” Splash President Emma Curzon said in the agency’s bankruptcy declaration. “As a consequence of the global pandemic the availability of celebrity images has declined and budgets within media companies have been cut to reflect wider macro-economic challenges. This situation has been exacerbated by two ongoing litigation cases and the costs of defending these cases.”
One of the two cases is Splash’s legal battle with the Duchess of Sussex over photos taken during a “private family outing” in a park in Canada. Several press outlets reported that the Sussexes and the agency reached a settlement in December with a Splash spokesperson saying, “It will not take unauthorized photographs of the family of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.” However, the case may not be fully resolved yet, according to THR.
The other case involved its former account manager Esmeralda Servin, who claimed she was repeatedly subjected to sexist remarks while working for the agency. She added that she was terminated after raising other concerns from illegal bidding to lack of transparency.
“The case involves free speech related issues under United Kingdom law and, unfortunately, has proven to be too unbearably expensive for Splash to continue its defense,” Curzon added. “Furthermore, if the plaintiffs were to prevail in that case it would likely result in a large attorney fee award against Splash. Notwithstanding the merits of the case the company has sought to settle this matter but has been unable to agree [on] a financial settlement within its resources.”
In December, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex already settled their lawsuit with Splash U.K. The paparazzi agency also promised to never take photos of their family again.
“As explained in today’s hearing, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have successfully settled a legal claim brought at the beginning of this year against the paparazzi agency Splash U.K,” a spokesperson from Schillings, the firm representing the Sussexes said. “This settlement is a clear signal that unlawful, invasive, and intrusive paparazzi behavior will not be tolerated, and that the couple takes these matters seriously – just as any family would.”