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Filmmaker Fights Back Against Berry Gordy’s Defamation Claims, Wants Judge To Toss $10 Million Lawsuit

Motown founder Berry Gordy has filed a $10 million claim over his portrayal in the film “Spinning Gold,” and creators of the film are firing back at Gordy in court. 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 03: Berry Gordy performs onstage during MusiCares Persons of the Year Honoring Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson at Los Angeles Convention Center on February 03, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

According to RadarOnline, the defendants, executive producer Timothy Bogart along with Hero Entertainment and Universal City Entertainment Group, filed new court documents on Oct. 4, refuting claims that Gordy “suffered any damages as a result” or “entitled to any equitable or legal relief on ‘any ground whatsoever.’” 

In addition, they argued that Gordy’s claims are related to the idea of “exercise of the right of free speech” in relation to “issues of public interest.” 

Bogart and other defendants requested that the claims be stricken from the court while also demanding that Gordy pay their attorney’s fees and costs. 

Fact or Fiction? 

The film “Spinning Gold” premiered in March 2023. Based on the life of music executive Neil Bogart, the film focuses on the rise of Casablanca Records, a company that rose to fame in the 1970s with acts such as Donna Summer and Parliament on its roster. In the film, Gordy makes an appearance, and is seen as angry about Bogart’s ability to lure Gladys Knight and the Isley Brothers away from Motown Records. 

According to Gordy, Bogart presented lies as the truth and even said, “Every bit of it is true, even the parts that aren’t.” According to EURWeb, Gordy did not like a scene in which he is portrayed as “putting a hit out” on Bogart. 

In June, Gordy filed a lawsuit. Gordy’s attorneys further argued, “None of this is true and [Gordy] is not, and has never, associated with criminals or criminal behavior, and there certainly was never any solicitation of murder by, or, on the part of, [Gordy].” In addition, Gordy argued that the film was a “made-up storyline in which Gordy is wrongfully and dishonestly portrayed as a thug and a mobster.” 

In the lawsuit, attorneys for Gordy said “The negative portrayals of [Gordy] and the insertion of the scene concerning Plaintiff ‘putting out a hit’ is a vile, reckless and baseless character assassination in the desperate attempt to create drama where non exists in a lackluster Picture. This wrongful and illegal content in the Picture has caused severe damage to [Gordy] and to [Gordy’s reputation.”

The Motown Machine

Gordy, who founded Motown Records in 1959, reportedly has a net worth of $400 million. Under his leadership, Motown Records was responsible for acts such as Diana Ross, The Supremes, The Temptations, and The Jackson Five. In 1988, he sold his stake in the company for $61 million. 

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