Television psychologist Phil McGraw, better known as Dr. Phil, and his wife Robin McGraw, sued the National Enquirer for defamation this month. The couple claim, in a case filed in Palm Beach County, Florida, that the gossip rag has hurt them professionally, emotionally, and otherwise and are demanding $ 250 million in damages.
The National Enquirer, which is accustomed to getting sued, responded to the filing with yet another article insulting the television counseling couple, calling Dr. Phil a quack and defending all previously published articles as true. According to the Washington Post, the McGraws seem to be following in the footsteps of Hulk Hogan, who successfully sued Gawker in Florida over a sex tape publication, pushing the publisher to bankruptcy.
Defaming the McGraws
Defamation is a claim for injury of reputation. The McGraws are claiming that the National Enquirer has consistently made money by publishing lies about the couple that injure them professionally and personally.
Among the most egregious of the paper’s claims, says the counseling couple in its filing, is the one where the National Enquirer accuses Dr. Phil of abusing his wife physically. The McGraws earn a living counseling couples, both in private and on television, and say that the publication of abuse claims has hurt them in Florida, the U.S., and internationally.
To prove their case they will have to show the following elements of defamation:
- A statement was made
- The statement was published
- The statement caused injury
- The statement was false
- The statement did not fall into a privileged category
The National Enquirer revealed its defense to the defamation suit in another article about the allegedly injured couple. In order for a statement to be defamatory it must be false, among the other elements noted above, and the paper insists everything it says about Dr. Phil is true.
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