Comedian case settles

A case brought against comedian Louise Beamont by her estranged husband over material contained in her Edinburgh Fringe stand-up show ‘Hard Mode’ has settled. Mr Reay had sued Ms Beaumont in defamation, privacy and under the Data Protection Act, over material in Ms Beaumont’s show about him. Mr Reay claimed that the show was defamatory, revealed private details of his and Ms Beaumont’s relationship and included still and moving images of him without his consent. The Parties released a brief joint statement saying that a settlement had been reached, Mr Reay had discontinued the case and the Parties would not be commenting further. The case prompted concerns over the extent to which comedians could use material about real people in their lives without the risk of being sued. Comedians often make provocative statements and use their own lives as source material for their jokes and routines but the law applies to comedians just as it does to anyone else. Often legal risk is managed by not providing identifying information about living individuals or by seeking the explicit consent of the person being referred to, but this is not always possible. Comedians and those producing or broadcasting comedy shows or programming should always seek legal advice to ensure that any risks are properly identified and dealt with.