Poor Demi Lovato! How much trouble are you allowed to get into if you're a Disney star? Could they fire Demi over this?
—Pray4Demi, via the inbox
Yes, Hollywood attorneys do fuel their evil powers with the blood of baby harp seals, and yes, they spend their free time worshipping basalt idols deep in the bowels of the Earth.
But suing Demi Lovato? For seeking help for a reported eating disorder and cutting? Is anyone in Hollywood that evil?
Let's take a closer look, with some help from one of those seal-sucking Hollywood attorneys.
I spoke with Greenberg Glusker's own Ken Basin, who has sat across the table from Disney several times.
According to Basin, Disney could probably—if it really, really wanted to—seek some sort of financial redress from Lovato. Somewhere, deep in her contract, there's probably some group of words that the company could use to bring her down.
Specifically, there are two contractual provisions that could come into in play, Basin says.
One is a morals clause.
Those vary from company to company. But often—especially with companies like Disney—they're so broadly worded that they can be triggered by any event that brings the company into "disrepute" or "scandal."
The other clause deals with disability. The wording generally states that if an artist is disabled in any way, for any reason, a company can terminate a contract and even seek compensation for losses.
"Disney tends to be a very T's-crossed and I's dotted company when it comes to contracts," Basin says. "I would expect they would have very tight contracts and very broad morals language."
All that said, don't expect any aggressive moves from Disney against Lovato.
Why? Because they are not stupid.
"It would be an extremely bad PR stance to take," Basin explains. "Sometimes the right step is no step at all."
No kidding. In fact, Disney has already put out a statement of support for its star.
Still, you had one other question: What kind of trouble might in fact trigger these contractual clauses? A Michael Vick-style criminal scandal, surely, Basin posits.
But what about, say, coke or heroin? Believe it or not, a Disney kid could announce a bona fide drug problem and Disney might still not do anything, Basin suggests.
"Disney tends to work with unestablished talent and then builds them as brands," Basin explains. "These stars take so much time and investment, it often makes better business sense to wait it out."
Yes, and chew on a few puppy bones to kill the time.