April 13, 2008

Paparazzi Accused of Supplying Drugs to Heath Ledger

A lawsuit issued Friday accuses a photo agency of supplying Ledger’s drugs in 2006 in order to take pictures of him using.

A lawsuit was filed Friday against the Los Angeles-area Splash News & Picture Agency for allegedly supplying actor Heath Ledger with cocaine two years ago in order to secretly videotape him using the drug, according to Reuters. Footage of the Ledger encounter, aired briefly after the young actor’s death in January, prompted an outcry in Hollywood.

The lawsuit claimed the video has generated more than $1 million in revenues through illegal paparazzi activity. California state law requires paparazzi to disgorge such profits.

Ledger, who died of an accidental overdose on prescription drugs in his New York apartment on January 22, was widely reported to have struggled with substance abuse. The plaintiff of the lawsuit is anonymous, referred to as Jane Doe, the former freelance reporter for People Magazine.

Reuters reports that she claims to have been an unwitting accomplice to the two photographers that paid for Ledger’s cocaine, one of whom she was dating at the time.

Her attorney was quoted as saying, “This is bad stuff. You don’t give drug addicts drugs so you can then tape them.”

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