Opinion: Gwyneth Paltrow's ski accident lawsuit wasn't worth the embarrassment
Written for Daily Hive by Alistair Vigier — the CEO of ClearwayLaw, a lawyer ratings website, and editor of AdvocateDaily.com
When the public gets a glimpse into the dirty laundry of celebrities, their sympathy often evaporates. Take Gwyneth Paltrow’s personal injury trial as an example. The actor is worth around $150 million and fought a long and public trial over only $300,000.
Even though she emerged victorious, it’s a symbolic victory at best. Celebrity’s reputations are often negatively impacted when they are involved in legal disputes. This is especially true when the public perceives the celebrity as having excessive wealth and privilege.
Paltrow should have thought twice before going to court, as the damage to her reputation may be irreversible. And surely, this trial is not worth her time, given her ability to make large sums of money.
With all the time and emotion she has invested into this lawsuit, she probably could have made another movie. Typically, established actors like Paltrow can earn anywhere from several hundred thousand to several million dollars per movie. The amount they can make varies from project to project and depends on several factors such as the budget of the film, her role in the movie (time spent), and the negotiation between the studio and her agents.
Her lawyers should have given her PR advice
Despite having a team of lawyers and public relations specialists whose job is to advise her on matters related to image and opportunity cost, it is still difficult to imagine that Gwyneth Paltrow found herself defending herself in a Utah courtroom, instead of settling out of court for a sum as low as $300,000.
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Paltrow was undoubtedly driven by emotions and outrage, a familiar feeling for people who get served with a lawsuit. However, her team should have advised her that even if she won the case, she would still lose in the public eye. Just like the Amber Heard case; once the court of public opinion kicks in, it can be devastating, regardless of the court’s verdict.
Paltrow was in court over a skiing accident that occurred seven years ago with a retired optometrist, Terry Sanderson. Sanderson claimed he suffered broken ribs and brain damage, and the question of who caused the accident was at the center of the case. Yet, the issue has become clouded with he-said, she-said, and most people had already made up their minds about who’s to blame, regardless of the evidence and prior to the final verdict.
Details about Gwyneth Paltrow’s wealth
Consider the case of Paltrow and her recent legal troubles. The details of her courtroom outfits, which included gold necklaces worth $65,000 and a Celine handbag worth over $1,500, as well as the cost of ski lessons for her four children during that fateful week, have all been brought into the public eye.
And the fact that she didn’t stick around after a skiing accident to see if the other party involved was okay has been scrutinized. Also, she said she felt molested because their two bodies were pushed together during the ski accident, which just added gas to the fire.
This comment reminded me of a scene in the movie Parasite where the rich guy can’t stand the smell of the homeless man, even though people are dying around him.
As a seasoned celebrity, Paltrow should have known that the public doesn’t take kindly to excessive displays of wealth and privilege. When a celebrity’s inner workings are exposed to the public eye, any sympathy they may have had quickly evaporates. A courtroom is a particularly harsh environment for such details to be laid bare, and Paltrow should have learned from Amber Heard’s own courtroom troubles.
It’s crucial for celebrities to carefully consider the potential consequences of their actions, especially when it comes to legal disputes. In Paltrow’s case, it’s clear that her team should have advised her to settle out of court to avoid further damage to her reputation. It remains to be seen how her decision will impact her career in the long run.