Major paparazzi agency bankrupted by Meghan and Harry legal battle

Markle served some karmic justice to the photo agency she says invaded her and her family's privacy

Meghan Markle and husband Prince Harry have made it a point to fight back against tabloids, now one of the paparazzi agencies they took to court is claims it is filing for bankruptcy because of them.

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According to The Hollywood Reporter, prominent paparazzi shop Splash News & Picture Agency claims it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a result of financial hardship caused by the global pandemic and the exorbitant legal fees brought on by Markle’s privacy action suit.

“Splash’s financial problems stem from three sources,” states Splash president Emma Curzon in a declaration 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.”

The most notable of those two cases is Markle suing the agency over photos she claims they took during a “private family outing” in a park in Canada.

While several press outlets reported a settlement this past December, at the time a spokesperson for the agency confirmed that going forward, “it will not take unauthorized photographs of the family of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.”

“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,” said Curzon.

“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.”

Earlier this month, in a previously un-aired clip released from Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special, Winfrey inquires if Markle ever felt like she needed to accept the loss of privacy as “part of the deal” when she became a royal.

In response, the expecting mother argued that “everyone has a basic right to privacy,” noting, “I think life is about being able to share stories you’re comfortable with.” 

“Two things here. I think everyone has a basic right to privacy, basic. We’re not talking about anything that anybody else wouldn’t expect,” she continued.

“So if you’re at work and you have a photograph of your child on your desk and your co-worker says ‘Oh my gosh, your kids so cute, that’s fantastic… can I see your phone so I can see all your pictures of your child?’ You go, ‘no, this is the picture I’m comfortable sharing with you.'”

“And then if they double down and say, ‘No, but you already showed me that one so you’ve got to show me everything, so I’m going to hire someone to sit in front of your house or hide in the bushes and take pictures into your back yard because you’ve lost your right to privacy because you shared one image with me.'”

Markle continued to explain why that kind of thinking was flawed.

“That’s sort of the flawed argument and operating mechanism that they’re confusing people to think,” she pointed out.

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“There’s no one on Instagram and social media who would say that because they shared one picture you are entitled to my whole camera roll,” she concluded. “No one would want that, so it’s about boundaries and respect – they’ve created a false narrative, I’ve never talked about privacy, I think that’s just a basic understanding.”

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