Playwright David Bar Katz, who discovered Philip Seymour Hoffman's body in the actor's bathroom on Sunday, February 2, has launched a lawsuit against National Enquirer after the publication reported that he and Hoffman were gay lovers. Enquirer, owned by America Media Inc., reported that Bar Katz gave them an exclusive interview in which he admitted to have romanced Hoffman and saw the actor using heroin. The publication also alleged that Bar Katz had seen Hoffman freebase cocaine the night before his death.
"The story is a complete fabrication: There was no interview," the lawsuit said. "Bar Katz and Hoffman were never lovers. Bar Katz did not see Hoffman freebasing cocaine the night before he died, or at any other time. Bar Katz never saw Hoffman use heroin or cocaine." He insisted that there was no meeting between him and three National Enquirer's writers and that he "unquestionably has not spoken to them or anyone else from the Enquirer since Hoffman's death."
Bar Katz filed the complaint, which was obtained by THR, in the New York Supreme Court, suing the publisher for $50 million. He is seeking $5 million in actual damages and $45 million in punitive damages.
Bar Katz is appalled by the media report surrounding Hoffman's death, saying in the lawsuit, "The media coverage of Hoffman's death has been highly regrettable and insensitive to Hoffman's family and friends. But the generally unseemly coverage of Hoffman's death now seems restrained in light of this new outrage by the Enquirer."
In a statement, Bar Katz's lawyer Judd Burstein added, "This article is just disgusting. Here you have Phil's family and his friends grieving, and the Enquirer comes along seeking to make a buck through putrid lies. Worse still, it appears that the Enquirer sent out a press release hyping the story so that it could sell more copies of the magazine. I do not know how these people can sleep at night."