Before she was Mrs. Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez was Mrs. Ojani Noa. That little known 11-month marriage to a Cuban chef is causing the comedic star of The Wedding Planner and the upcoming
The Back-Up Plan some serious headaches. J. Lo, as Jennifer Lopez is known to her fans, sued Noa for breach of contract in early November. The ex-husband had been planning to make and sell a movie containing home video of J. Lo “in sexual situations” and to release double-digit hours of previously unseen footage from their honeymoon in 1997.
This is not the first time Noa tried to drag private matters into the public arena. In 2007, J .Lo stopped him through a court injunction from writing a tell-all book about their marriage, which ended in January 1998. The book was to detail their first sexual encounter and other intimacies of their time together. She won about $545,000 in that action. How she did it is a great idea for others living in the limelight who might want to protect their privacy from those with ready access to intimate details of their lives: J. Lo had Noa sign a confidentiality agreement.
Today, that agreement has become her best and perhaps only chance to protect her dignity from Noa’s continuing drive to feed his memories to the raw hunger of a gawking public. According to TheWrap.com, the terms of the 2007 injunction barred Noa from “licensing, disseminating, or distributing of any ….book, manuscript or other written materials which contain private or intimate details about Lopez or Noa’s relationship with Lopez.”
But Noa is not going away quietly anytime soon. His people are saying the planned movie is actually a “parody” which is not caught by the restrictions of the 2007 injunction. In fact, his movie director reportedly calls it “100 % parody.” If the court agrees with them on this claim and they win the jump ball, it will mean that we are no longer dealing with a simple contract situation between J Lo and Noa but instead a case of protecting Noa’s free speech rights under the First Amendment. But will he win it?
For starters, parody defenses are usually reserved for cases where somebody’s prior artistic or literary work is being copied or used by the second person primarily for the purpose of comment or criticism. In the J. Lo case, if Noa pretends to be parodying the contents of the home video of their honeymoon, it is difficult to see where his comment or criticism of that material arises, since from all indications, he is flat out attempting to sell the stuff for money. The overall context of the situation simply cuts against him. Plus, Noa might find himself embroiled in some unexpected legal wrangling that resembles what lawyers would do in trademark and copyright infringement disputes. And that’s no fun stuff.
In short, this is a garden-variety contract situation – as J.Lo claims – and not the big-league First Amendment case that Noa hopes it becomes. This means that rather than pushing the parody stuff, Noa would have better luck fighting the validity of the confidentiality agreement itself or maybe its terms. And for J. Lo, she likely has nothing to worry about if the agreement was properly executed and well crafted. The 2007 injunction already puts her ahead on that question. In this latest round, J. Lo has already won a temporary stay pending final decision in the case sometime in December. But thanks to her confidentiality agreement, her chances of winning are much brighter than his. And here lies the teachable moment for other celebs who may be embarrassed by disclosure of intimate information by former confidants.