Are Meghan Markle and Prince Harry responsible for the demise of paparazzi agency Slash News? According to documents obtained by E! News, president Emma Curzon said one of the pending lawsuits, which involves the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, is a source of their financial problems.
As a result, Splash News and Picture Agency filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 23.
"The claims are disputed but unfortunately ongoing attorney bills have drained, and continue to drain, cash from the business," the documents state. "Splash is unable to continue with the financial burden to defend these claims."
Additionally, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has been another factor as to why the company is failing. "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," the declaration reads. "This situation has been exacerbated by two ongoing litigation cases and the costs of defending these cases. These cases are in the United Kingdom and United States."
“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 (to) a financial settlement within its resources,” the statement added.
The couple sued Splash News over pictures taken of the former actress with her son, Archie, at a park in Canada in January 2020. In December of that year, the duo settled their legal claim.
"As explained in today's hearing, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have successfully settled a legal claim brought at the beginning of this year against the paparazzi agency Splash U.K.," a spokesperson said at the time. "This settlement is a clear signal that unlawful, invasive, and intrusive paparazzi behavior will not be tolerated, and that the couple takes these matters seriously — just as any family would."
But "a simultaneous and similar claim against Splash U.S., a sister company to Splash U.K., continues to move forward in the British court system," they revealed.
Now, "the plaintiffs in the United Kingdom litigation...are seeking various forms of injunctive relief. 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," Curzon said via the documents. "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 [sic] a financial settlement within its resources."
Last month, Meghan, 39, successfully won her legal battle against Associated Newspapers Limited for publishing a letter she wrote to her dad, Thomas Markle, after her wedding to Harry in 2018.