The National Enquirer has settled a lawsuit filed by playwright David Bar Katz over false claims made in the publication about his alleged gay relationship with Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Katz sued the National Enquirer for $50 million earlier this month after the tabloid falsely claimed he gave an "exclusive" interview saying he and Hoffman were gay lovers and that he saw the Oscar winner using drugs before his death.
"Here you have Phil's family and his friends grieving, and the Enquirer comes along seeking to make a buck through putrid lies," Katz's lawyer, Judd Burstein, said via a press release. "Worse still, it appears that the Enquirer sent out a press release hyping the story so that it could sell more copies of the magazine. I do not know how these people can sleep at night."
Apparently, a senior Enquirer reporter and some researchers found an individual named David Katz who claimed to be the playwright and "sounded distraught," Burstein told The New York Times. They believed it was the right person.
“The issue was never me being outraged at being accused of being gay — we’re theater guys, who cares?” Katz told the Times. “The issue was lying about the drugs, that I would betray my friend by telling confidences.”
The Enquirer withdrew the article, apologized and gave Burstein the contact information for the man who allegedly posed as Katz. The Enquirer and its publisher, American Media Incorporated, also agreed to fund the American Playwriting Foundation, which was formed in honor of Hoffman and will grant $45,000 per year for an unproduced play.
Hoffman was found dead in his New York City apartment on Feb. 2 of an apparent heroin overdose. He was just 46 years old.