Of Movie Stars, Social Media and Abe Lincoln



RICHARD LUTZ gets hot under the collar about social media, the press and  Abraham Lincoln. Read on, dear reader, read on

Two separate rants here crammed into one.

Or, if I was  a marketing PRO supremo, I could promise you a great  two-for-1 deal.

Today you get, yes, in our great 241 Xmas sales offer: inside scoops on Kate Winslet, Facebook, Abraham Lincoln and film awards.

Here goes: first Kate Winslet, shining star of the UK movie trade.

As many (well, some) of you know she has gone and married …ahem..Ned Rocknroll, aka Richard Branson’s posh nephew. So far so good.

But now Ned has gone and taken out a lawsuit against Murdoch’s Sun newspaper. The grubby rag wants to show embarassing pictures of Mr Winslet at a private party two years ago. He was dressed as a lurid semi-naked lady at a party and someone slapped them on the public access side of a Facebook page.

Now, here is where it gets interesting unless you think a) Kate W. marrying a guy called Ned Rocknroll is interesting or b) you think her new hubby in embarassing pic dressed as a dame is interesting.

The Sun has defended itself against the injunction against publication by saying since the photograph was already on a public access site, it is public property.  The paper’s lawyers infer that everything on a social media site is fair game. Everything is usable. Nice one…and it will probably be a legal case that media lawyers will watch carefully when it comes next to court on Tuesday Jan 22nd.

According to legal press reports, Rocknroll has been given  an emergency interim injunction  after the paper contacted Winslet’s publicist. His lawyer talks of an invasion of privacy. After all, it was a private party in the privacy of a private home. The photos were never intended to be made public. You get the idea.

Representing the Sun’s publisher, News International subsidiary News Group, lawyers will ask the judge to throw  out the injunction against usage of the tacky cross-dressing pictures. They will say the photos were grabbed from a ‘publicly accessible’ Facebook profile and therefore already available. Anyway, The Sun’s lawyers will add, since Rocknroll is a ‘public figure,’  he has a lower  expectation, according to press reports, of privacy.

So, get ready for another social media bunfight about what is allowed to be grabbed off the net just because it is there.  We have been here before. Is all material on Twitter, Facebook and other sites OK to use? What about intrusion? What about copyright? What about paying freelance rates? What about  theft? What about libel?

Next week, an angry Mr Rocknroll-Winslet, possibly dressed less alluringly, will find out from a judge if newspapers have the right to pick things up willy nilly from the web and use them simply because the content is out there to use. It could be an important turn of events about a ludicrous set of photos.

Now, goodbye Mr and Mrs Kate and onto Abraham Lincoln. He was the president of the US who broke the back of the rebel South during the Civil War and freed the slaves 150-ish years ago. A real hero.


A new Spielberg film admirably portrays him with the help of Daniel Day Lewis. I have seen the movie over in the States. And though it can tend to be at times a bit like an overly sincere  tv  drama-documentary for high school students, it is convincing and dramatic.

The movie has yet to hit UK shores. That’s the way it is. Yanks and Canadians get to see blockbusters the British audience can only grab  off the net or read about second hand until Hollywood deigns Team GB can be trusted with its products. No one really knows why but I guess it has to do with money.

But with Britain officially yet to set eyes on Lincoln, the BAFTA judges have gone and given the film umpteen nominations. So, we here in the UK read and hear about this country’s prime movie gongfest awarding nominations to an American film no one has yet to see..and anyway, it really is for an American audience hooked on the iconic Lincoln figure.

Don’t tell me Team GB isn’t enslaved to the US cultural world. We are toadies. As is the media. How about UK films for the BAFTAs?

Maybe I should ask Kate Rocknroll about this. Or, Mr Rocknroll. I’ll Facebook them and see  what they have to say