The agency has suggested there are several reasons for its filing for bankruptcy, among them the cost of defending two ongoing litigation cases - one of which is thought to be the privacy action brought by the Duchess of Sussex. Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Splash has defaulted on a loan worth nearly $1m.
“Splash’s financial problems stem from three sources,” Splash president Emma Curzon said in a statement submitted as part of the bankruptcy. “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.”
Markle's battle with Splash dates back to the agency snapping photos of her during a “private family outing” in a park in Canada.
According to the BBC, the pictures were taken in Horth Hill Regional Park on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, on 20 January 2020. The case was reported to have been settled in December, but as The Hollywood Reporter points out, the case may still be ongoing to some extent.
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“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 in the Chapter 11 submission.
“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.”
The Duchess of Sussex has recently won a privacy case against publisher Associated Newspapers. She brought the case over the paper’s decision to publish parts of a letter she wrote to her now estranged father Thomas Markle, ahead of her wedding to Prince Harry.
A court ruled in her favour and found that The Mail on Sunday and Mail Online had breached her privacy when it published the extracts from her letter.
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