WEST VILLAGE — The screenwriter pal of Philip Seymour Hoffman who found the Oscar-winning actor dead from an apparent heroin overdose is suing the National Enquirer for $50 million, accusing the supermarket tabloid of “yellow journalism” and for writing lies that the two friends were homosexual lovers.
David Bar Katz filed the defamation lawsuit on Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, flatly denying the Enquirer’s claim that it got an “exclusive interview” with Katz in which he confessed to watching Hoffman freebase cocaine the night before his death.
“The media coverage of Hoffman’s death has been highly regrettable and insensitive to Hoffman’s family and friends,” Bar Katz says in the lawsuit. “But the generally unseemly coverage of Hoffman’s death now seems restrained in light of this new outrage by the Enquirer.”
Hoffman was found dead in his West Village apartment with a syringe in his arm and dozens of bags of heroin. He was 46 and had three children with his partner, Mimi O’Donnell.
Bar Katz says in the lawsuit that he was a close friend of the “Capote” actor and “will forever be haunted by the fact that he was the one who discovered Hoffman’s body.”
The lawsuit refers to a Feb. 17, 2014 edition of the Enquirer that purports to have an interview with Bar Katz in which he confesses to being gay lovers with Hoffman and having seen him use heroin on a number of occasions.
“The story is a complete fabrication: There was no interview,” the lawsuit says. “Bar Katz has never spoken to anyone at the Enquirer about Hoffman. Bar Katz did not see Hoffman freebasing cocaine the night before he died, or at any other time. Bar Katz never saw Hoffman use heroin or cocaine.”
The lawsuit adds that Bar Katz "never had a homosexual relationship or encounter with Hoffman ever."
Radar Online on Wednesday published a press release about the story from the Enquirer, its sister publication, directing people to read the story in this week's edition.
The National Enquirer could not immediately be reached for comment.