Errol Morris Sued By Subject Of His Documentary TABLOID

Documentary filmmaker Errol Morris is being sued by Joyce McKinney, the subject of his latest film Tabloid. McKinney’s suit claims among other things misappropriation of likeness, defamation, misrepresentation, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress and breach of contract stemming from her participation in the film.

Tabloid told the story of the 1977 British “Manacled Mormon” tabloid story in which McKinney claims she took her fiancée away to a secluded cabin for a weekend-long loving making session as a way to persuade him from leaving the Mormon Church but was reported as her having kidnapped and repeatedly raped him.

McKinney claims that when she was approached to participate in the documentary in 2009 she was told that the project was part of a series for Showtime and she would be given the chance to clear her name. Instead, she alleges in her suit that two representatives for the director tricked her into letting them take personal effects for possible use in the film and that the documentary holds her up for public ridicule.

As someone who has seen a number of Morris’s documentaries, I find the charges being leveled here to be somewhat unbelievable. Morris is one of the last doc directors I would ever accuse of going out of their way to do a “hit piece” on a particular subject. He displays an even hand in presenting material on all sides of a story and allowing the audience to come to their own conclusions. If a subject thinks that they have come off badly in one of his films the probably only have themselves to blame.

I have to think that McKinney probably thought she was going to get to tell her side of the story and that no other side of the story would be told. When the film didn’t turn out to be what she imagined it to be, McKinney ultimately turned litigious. However, it wasn’t before she made herself a very active online presence, decrying the film on many website comments sections where the film was being discussed. David Chen, host of SlashFilm’s SlashFilmcast pod cast related a story on a recent episode where he received a long voice mail from McKinney, railing against Morris and the film. What we’re seeing here, I think, is a variation of Buyer’s Remorse.

Via Deadline.

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About Rich Drees 6949 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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November 7, 2011 12:05 pm

You are a liar so full of crap your eyes are brown–and ARE YOU A FRIEND OF ERROL’S? You are disgusting!… A fine person’s life is ruined, her service dog is dead, and her mother lies dying in a coma from a suicide attempt due to the media onslaught˙ his defamatory film engendered invading their quiet life and privacy, and her family’s saddled with over $300.000 in medical bills. You have your nerve to take up for the jerk. Did he PAY you to write this (like he did his PR teams to slander Joyce?) Or his tabloid “sources”? Or… Read more »

William Gatevackes
November 10, 2011 7:08 pm

I’m pretty sure if Rich got paid for running a story here, he’d share the funds with the rest of the FBOL staff (Right, Rich?) and since I didn’t see any money from it, I’ll assume that it hasn’t happened. That being said, I have not been paid for what I am about to say, I wouldn’t know Errol Morris if I was standing next to him, and have absolutely nothing to gain from what I am about to say other than to defend friend. I have yet to see Tabloid but after this I want to. Rich did insert… Read more »

December 2, 2011 3:58 pm

interesting. i dont feel that tabloid was remotely unobjective ,or in any way even handed … i found it a pretty depressing , highly controlled , edited to the hilt , shocking ‘telling of the truth ‘ . editing is a wonderful way to tell a story as one wants . i saw this film a few weeks back , simply as i kind of had to . many friends alerted me to the fact that a hollywood film had been made ‘starring’ a few folk i’d heard of , and one i have known closely on and off for… Read more »

February 28, 2012 12:46 am

Dear Turwuopise 23. Joyce McKiney read your message in Beruary of 2012, and would like to contact younpersonally to speak with you regarding the interesting knowledge you have of TOry, who lied about her obeying comprehension in MOirrs sick film. MOirs didn’t even bother checking him or his other sources, henor did he allow JOcye to rebuttal their libelous satmetns. Are you aware Turguopse, that MOrirs pert tricked JOcyeinto th “interveiw” bhy sending pope who pretended that they were from Shotime Netwrok doin a Tv seris on aparazzi tactics” to rick her into the studion. While MORirs interviewed her, his… Read more »

February 28, 2012 1:38 am

Dear “Turquoise 23”: Joyce McKinney herself read your kind and insightful message at the end of February, 2012, and wants to talk with you personally to find out more information from you about Peter Tory, the lying tabloid jerk YOU know who slandered her so maliciously. Could you leave your phone number with her manager at 718-406-1089. Joyce is really excited about speaking with you and has a lot to share with you about her terrifying ordeal in England–the REAL story, as opposed to Morris’ Mormon and tabloid sourced celluloid catastrophe. Netflix banned it because it was so degrading to… Read more »