Pledge This! lawsuit: Lawyers argue in court

Paris Hilton is at the center of a federal lawsuit that claims she didn’t honor her contract to promote a DVD release of one of her movies.

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Written by the Associated Press / Edited by PHS

Paris Hilton hated her 2006 movie “Pledge This!” and refused for months to make promotional appearances for it despite a contract requiring her to do so, lawyers for the film’s investors said as trial opened Thursday in an $8 million lawsuit against her.

“During the six-month period, at no time would she take 10 minutes to do a phone interview,” attorney Bryan West, who represents the investors, said in opening statements.

With Hilton nodding vigorously from her defense table seat, her attorney Michael Weinsten insisted she did numerous appearances for the movie but was unavailable to meet many requests by the film’s producers because of her extremely busy schedule. Hilton also had the right to refuse some promotion events that might harm her brand and never agreed to plug the DVD release of the movie from December 2006 through May 2007, he said.

“Paris Hilton is a promotion machine,” Weinsten said. “For 2½ years, she relentlessly promoted that movie.”

One of the movie’s executive producers, James DiLorenzo, testified that Hilton’s handlers rejected a series of suggested promotion efforts, including popular late-night TV talk shows and interviews with magazines, newspapers and radio outlets in the U.S. and abroad.

“In order to make the public aware of the product, she was the most powerful way of doing that,” DiLorenzo said.

Hilton, a 28-year-old heiress, actress and model, is expected to testify Friday. She traveled to Miami for the trial from Dubai, where she has been filming episodes of her “My New BFF” reality show. Wearing a sleeveless black-and-white dress with a large bow on the back, Hilton sat quietly at the defense table during opening statements, occasionally taking notes or fiddling with her twin ponytails.

The lawsuit is being heard by Chief U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno, who has a well known sense of humor. Moreno at one point asked West whether the contract allowed Hilton to refuse even the most outrageous promotion requests.

“If you said, ‘She has to parade nude down the Champs-Elysees with a Pledge This! banner’ … and she said no, would that be breach of contract?” Moreno asked. Then, answering his own question, he added, “No, of course not.”

The lawsuit seeks $8.3 million in damages, essentially to recoup the money spent to make and distribute the film. It was filed by attorney Michael Goldberg, a court-appointed receiver for a now-defunct Miami company that was the movie’s key investor. That company was shut down as a $300 million Ponzi scheme by the Securities and Exchange Commission, with its operator now living in Brazil.

Weinsten acknowledged that Hilton wasn’t pleased with the final cut of “Pledge This!” — which concerns the antics of a fictional sorority at equally fictional South Beach University — but he said she did what she could to plug it. She was paid $1 million to act in the lead role, yet the movie only made about $2.9 million and appeared on just 25 theater screens.

The investors claim it could have done much better as a DVD release if Hilton had done more promotion, particularly in Japan and Europe where she is a huge star.

“It might have made a difference. It would have done better,” West said.

Posted: July 9th, 2009
Comments: 6


From: admin
Time: July 9, 2009, 9:19 pm

Another disillusioned person who thinks Paris Hilton = INSTANT SUCCESS. Oh, we have Paris Hilton, and so our garbage movie will be no doubt a success. It has to! They don’t say this, but I’m sure that’s what the lawyer and the investors imply.

If people think like that, they’re very wrong. To make something successful, it takes hard work. No one likes to watch some crappy garbage movie. In the case of Pledge This!, it’s not an ok or average, but simply an unwatchable movie!

So let’s just drop the pretense that if Paris had massively promoted it (even if she did or not), “it might have made a difference. It would have done better.” Baloney!

Notice that he said “MIGHT” and then “better”. How can we calculate how better it would have done, sir?

Although… I know, I know the issue here is about whether or not she is promoted the movie adequately. Personally, I don’t know. She did promote it, but I don’t know if it was enough. We don’t know the specific demands of the contract.

Anyway, but to create a lawsuit over this movie is absolutely crazy.

From: scot
Time: July 9, 2009, 10:07 pm

Paris did more then enough promotion for this movie, it wasn’t heaps but it was enough also considering how embarassed she was about the movie. His choice of words, him saying ‘might’ made it so obvious how bullshit this law suit is. The fact is this movie is shit, and like you said admin – no one wants to see a shit movie. I highly doubt there would have been much of a difference if Paris had appeared on a late show or did an interview with a magazine. Sure maybe $100k but even that is really pushing the difference a bit more promotion would have made.

From: Andrewstar
Time: July 9, 2009, 11:49 pm

No prison for paris if she loose the case isnt it guys? =(

From: juju
Time: July 10, 2009, 12:01 am


of course you know where i stand. i agree with your final statement. a contract is a contract, no matter how good the movie was. and obviously they’ll sue about this move becasue they need to recoup some of their losses. again, not about the quality of the film. the investors want their money back.

we shall see if they can make their case. remember, it could be found that paris did breach teh contract, but that breach did not contribute to or cause the harm (loss) to the investors. in which case any damages she has to pay could still be zero.

i hope her defense attorney has his act together and is taking this seriously and not just assuming they’ll win like the jackass did in her first traffic court trial. if it’s in court, then it’s serious. no guarantee of success either way.

From: Django
Time: July 10, 2009, 3:11 am

Not a great movie but I wouldn’t call it unwatchable. Paris makes it watchable, which alas is more than I can say for her five minutes in Repo.

Paris is probably without a doubt the main or sole reason that anyone went to see this movie or buy it (unless there are people determined to see every movie made). It’s ridiculous that they are suing the person who’s the sole reason for them making any money off it at all. But that’s most of the human race for you, I guess.

From: T.K.
Time: July 10, 2009, 7:47 am

Most people don’t even like Paris Hilton, so expecting that a movie will have sucess because she stars in it, it’s ridiculous.