Showtime Sued Over George & Tammy By Heirs Of Series Villain George Richey

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Showtime Sued Over George & Tammy By Heirs Of Series Villain George Richey


George & Tammy, a miniseries about tragic country superstars George Jones and Tammy Wynette starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain, aired on Showtime in 2022. We just talked to Shannon about the role in a freshly published We’ve Got A File On You, but the show is in the headlines for other reasons today.

The heirs of George Richey, the songwriter and producer who became Wynette’s final husband, are suing Showtime over the miniseries. As Billboard reports, Sheila Slaughter Richey, who married Richey in 2001, and their son Tatum Richey, filed a lawsuit in Delaware today regarding the series’ portrayal of Richey, who was played by Steve Zahn. In legal documents, they allege that George & Tammy conveyed a “negative and disparaging portrayal” of Richey and unfairly turned him into “the villain.” The suit asserts, “The series depicts Richey as a devious husband who abused Wynette and Richey’s prior wife, facilitated and encouraged Wynette’s addiction to prescription painkillers, and engaged in financial and managerial manipulation of Wynette.”

This is not a defamation suit. In 2019, Jones and Wynette’s daughter, Georgette Jones, agreed to a settlement forbidding her from making disparaging statements about Richey. Because George & Tammy was based on Georgette’s 2011 book about her parents, the lawsuit argues that Showtime committed “tortious interference with contract” by encouraging Georgette to breach her settlement with Richey’s estate. As explained in the lawsuit, “The defendant [was] specifically told, in a written letter delivered prior to the broadcast of the Series, that the Series was based on and featured disparaging information that was the ill-gotten product of Georgette’s violation of the agreement. Nonetheless, Showtime chose to broadcast the Series anyway.”

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