Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Friend Sues National Enquirer for $50 Million Over Story They Were Gay Lovers

Yesterday in my round-up I noted the existence of a completely made up story from the National Enquirer that David Bar Katz, the friend who found Philip Seymour Hoffman's body, was also his lover.

BarkatzNow Bar Katz is suing the Enquirer for $50 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter:

Bar Katz claims the publication printed a libelous story falsely claiming he gave them an "exclusive interview" in which he said he and Hoffman were lovers, had seen Hoffman freebase cocaine the night before his death and that he'd seen Hoffman use heroin.

In a complaint filed in the New York Supreme Court, Bar Katz claims the story is a lie. "The story is a complete fabrication: There was no interview," it states. "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."

The lawsuit goes on to say that Bar Katz has "no recollection" of ever meeting the three writers on the National Enquirer story and "unquestionably has not spoken to them or anyone else from the Enquirer since Hoffman's death."

Bar Katz is seeking $5 million in actual damages and $45 million in punitive damages.


  1. anon says

    Ah, the Enquirer has a team of lawyers that vet such stories (not for truth but for liability concerns), so I’m guessing that unless someone was asleep at the switch, the case will get tossed. For example, they are normally very scrupulous about taping all interviews.

  2. northalabama says

    litper – the lawsuit didn’t claim being called gay was an insult, only the story of the relationship was untrue, along with witnessing the drug use, and the interview was from bar katz himself.

    getting out the popcorn, this could be interesting…would love to see bar katz prevail in court.

  3. Lucca says

    @MIKE8787 It’s not a question of being gay or not, it’s having an affair with someone else that is the libelous part. Bar Katz has been married, living in Manhattan with his wife and 4 children and has not been having an affair…gay or straight. The assertion of his extra-marital affair and bearing false witness is enough for libel here, and the statement of him witnessing PSH’s drug use is also libelous.

  4. CPT_Doom says

    The story also claimed that the relationship between Katz and Hoffman was the reason for the end of Hoffman’s longterm relationship with his female partner, with whom he has 3 children. Being called gay may not be a libelous statement; being called a homewrecker certainly is.

    Assuming it’s true, however, that there was no interview (as the story claimed), I am not really sure the content of the story is even at issue. The point Katz is making in his filing is that none of the facts the story claimed are true because he never gave an interview and likely never even met the “reporters.” That is a big deal no matter what they printed. You simply can’t make up stuff about people.

  5. MFinBH says

    DBK has worked his entire career of 20+ years in theatre; homophobia is not any part of this claim. He is married with 4 kids, and so the allegation of an affair (heterosexual or homosexual) would be libelous.

    If The Enquirer’s claims to an interview not given, a comment not made, and witnessing behavior not seen in addition to the claims of an affair not had are proven lies, they would be rightly liable for everything the court hits them with.

  6. Gr8guyca says

    If the story is completely false, then the Enquirer knows they will lose in court. Instead of spending millions on lawyers, they will issue an apology and correction. Then, they will settle the case out of court for $X,000,000 million. If DBK is a good guy, he will donate that to establish either an acting grant or an organization to help actors with drug-related problems.

  7. joe says

    Is Bar Katz homophobic? I mean, if someone accused a gay guy of having an affair with a woman, I doubt he’d sue his accuser. Bar should take it on the chin.

  8. Bill says

    @Joe: there is a difference between an accusation made by a drunk at the local watering hole and a dubious newspaper making things up about you.

    Also, a gay guy might (to use your example) legitimately sue if a newspaper printed a story that he was having an affair with a woman – suppose the gay guy in question was married and his husband didn’t like it either.

  9. ToThePoint says

    Maybe I should start suing people for assuming I am straight since I don’t project a feminine demeanor.

  10. mslewis says

    I cannot believe the commenters who believe that Katz is suing because he was call gay. That’s ridiculous. The man is suing because the NatEnq said he gave an interview to them where he said he and Hoffman were lovers AND that he saw Hoffman do drugs. Katz is saying none of that is true. It has zero to do with hating gays. That’s a stupid conclusion.

    Also, if the Enquirer think they are right, why did they take down the story today? According to several sites, the Internet has been “cleaned” of any trace of this story.

  11. trapelo says

    Saying you “have no recollection” of meeting someone doesn’t hold up well in court. You either know or don’t know unless you’re totally off your a@@

  12. Bill says

    @trapelo : “No recollection” would hold up in court if the “meeting” was a reporter walking up to him somewhere and asking him to sign an autograph.

    He’s probably just allowing for the possibility that he and some of these reporters might have been in the same room during some event. For example, I once – a long time ago – met Michael Lucas (the porn star) at a fund raising event in San Francisco. Fortunately I didn’t ask him what he did for a living as I only found out he was a porn star later. I’m sure he could legitimately say that he had no recollection of meeting me – it is not like we had a conversation beyond something like “nice to meet you.”