Nearly seven months after his death, what Heath Ledger did behind closed doors is still a major issue for some people.
A woman suing celebrity-photo agency Splash News after she ended up on a tape featuring the late actor in close proximity to cocaine is fighting to keep her legal action from being dismissed.
The plaintiff, who refers to herself only as "Jane Doe" in her complaint, claims her privacy rights were violated because she was caught on video with the Dark Knight star—whom she claims was duped into participating.
Attorneys for Splash have insisted that the woman, who was freelancing for People magazine at the time, "has improperly attempted to assert the rights of a dead celebrity within her complaint," but the plaintiff maintains that she was victimized, as well.
In court documents filed Thursday on the woman's behalf, her lawyers state that the shutterbugs told her they would destroy the tape, but then ended up selling it to Entertainment Tonight for a reported $200,000.
The footage, which was shot in a room reserved by the plaintiff at the Chateau Marmont, where a post-SAG Awards party was taking place, ultimately never aired in its entirety out of respect for the Ledger family (and under some strong-arming by the actor's reps).
Attorneys for the plaintiff, who filed her complaint April 11, said that their client never found out she had been lied to until after ET aired clips of the tape following Ledger's Jan. 22 death from an accidental prescription drug overdose.
The plaintiff also objects to Splash News' assertion that Ledger's alleged drug-related activity was newsworthy and therefore fair game for its reporters.
The lawsuit contends that the two Splash employees, Darren Banks (who the plaintiff was dating at the time) and Eric Munn, tricked Ledger into accompanying them to their room, offered him cocaine that they had bought beforehand and then filmed him unawares.
"I used to smoke five joints a day for 20 years," Ledger can be heard telling someone in the room.
"Clearly, this morbid and sensational prying into private lives should not be protected under the newsworthiness exception," yesterday's filing states.
And as for her image being blurred in the footage, the plaintiff has a privacy interest in her "conversations, in her voice and likeness."