Lisa Ann goes down in flames as her publicity stunt restraining order is kicked out of court.
Featured image by Marcos Rivera Photography
Last month, newly-retired adult star Lisa Ann went on a media blitz, announcing that she had filed for a Civil Harassment Restraining Order against adult star and Penthouse Pet of the Year Nikki Benz. Lisa Ann told the Los Angeles Superior Court that she was afraid of Benz, who, she claimed, had threatened her. Her restraining order sought not only to keep Benz far away from her, but also to limit by injunction Benz’s ability to even tweet about her.
In response, Benz filed a stinging Anti-SLAPP motion which dubbed Lisa Ann’s legal maneuver a frivolous “publicity stunt”, stated that Benz had in fact never threatened her, and called for its complete dismissal.
In court on Monday, Benz won the day.
In a devastating ruling, the court found that nothing Benz tweeted, or said about Lisa Ann at the XBIZ Awards in January, amounted to an actionable claim for harassment. ”[Lisa Ann] has failed to submit sufficient evidence to demonstrate her petition has the minimal merit”, wrote the court.
Thus, Benz’s Anti-SLAPP motion to strike Lisa Ann’s publicity stunt restraining order was granted, and Benz was vindicated.
The court’s ruling is reproduced at the end of this article.
California’s anti-SLAPP statute provides for a special motion to strike a complaint that arises from activity exercising the rights of petition and free speech.
Benz’s motion asserted that Lisa Ann’s action was ripe for the application of the anti-SLAPP statute “as it is obviously nothing more than a publicity stunt by Petitioner to get media attention. The overburdened court system should not be involved in a fading porn actress’s attempt at garnering publicity.”
The statement of facts contained in Benz’s motion was delightfully brutal:
The parties in this action are both in the adult entertainment industry. Respondent [ ] Nikki Benz is a famous adult entertainer at the height of her career. Petitioner Lisa Ann Murphy is a retired adult entertainer who is trying to remain relevant. She is heavily disliked in the industry and this frivolous lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt to gamer publicity through this action. (citation omitted) On December 21, 2014, the instant dispute commenced by Petitioner calling Ms. Benz a prostitute while she was on a trip for her birthday to Dubai…. Ms. Benz responded and Petitioner and Ms. Benz went back and forth. It was a Twitter “battle” launched by Petitioner herself. There was no harassment or threats. Ms. Benz was merely responding to false, personal attacks by Petitioner. (footnote omitted) After this Twitter “battle,” which Petitioner was obsessing over, the Petitioner and Respondent both attended the XBIZ Awards on January 15, 2015. Petitioner and Ms. Benz never met at the award show in person. No words were exchanged and certainly no threats were made. (citations omitted)
The motion also raised several points that were noted in TRPWL’s coverage — the most damning of which being that, despite Lisa Ann’s claim that she was too afraid to attend the 2015 AVN show in order to receive her ‘lifetime achievement award’, she in fact DID attend the event, and was NOT scheduled to receive any such award:
After the XBIZ awards, Petitioner did attend the AVN Award Show in Las Vegas (despite her statement to the contrary). She walked the red carpet at the show, but did not go inside. She was never scheduled to receive a lifetime achievement award and did not expect one due to her poor standing in the industry. (citations omitted) Petitioner’s lawsuit here, like her false claim that she was to receive a “lifetime achievement award,” is simply a big lie. This lawsuit is nothing more than a publicity stunt by an adult entertainer who is starved for attention. There is no credible evidence of any harassment or threats by Ms. Benz. In addition, Petitioner’s false claims of harassment and threats are completely refuted by a host of declarations of eye witnesses at the XBIZ Awards who testified that no threats were made. Therefore, Ms. Benz respectfully requests that the Court grant this Motion.
Benz’s winning motion was supported by signed declarations by adult stars Jesse (fka Jesse Jane) and Jayden Jaymes, as well as AVN‘s Peter Warren.
Nikki Benz states, “I am thrilled that the Court has thrown out Lisa Ann’s frivolous case for supposed harassment against me. I intend to pursue her for all damages she has caused me as a result. Filing legal cases just to get in TMZ is just sad. A big thank you to all adult stars and industry people who showed me support on twitter and in court. The overwhelming support is greatly appreciated.”
Benz’s attorney, Stephen Kernan, Esq. adds: “This case involved interesting issues of first amendment, publicity and social media. Courts would be overflowing with even more cases if they allowed ‘harassment’ cases to proceed every time a twitter war breaks out. True harassment cases must be supported with evidence, not manufactured theories that make great soundbites on TMZ. We are glad the Court ruled in Nikki Benz’ favor. The statute now requires Murphy pay Ms. Benz’s attorney’s fees incurred in this matter, and we intend to file a motion for those fees shortly.”