Showtime is being sued over its award-winning 2022 miniseries George & Tammy by the estate of Tammy Wynette‘s last husband, the late George Richey.
Richey’s heirs are displeased with his portrayal in the series and contend that it disparages and villainizes him, and as such, is in violation of a previous non-disparagement agreement with Georgette Jones, Wynette and Jones’ daughter who participated in the making of the show.
Jones was a consulting producer on George & Tammy and penned the memoir it was based on, therefore the lawsuit claims the series represented the network’s “interference of contract” in a previous settlement agreement the estate had made with Jones seven years prior not to defame or disparage Richey. Jones is not named as a defendant in the suit however, only the network.
The suit was filed Thursday (Feb. 1) in Delaware on behalf of Richey’s widow Sheila Slaughter Richey, the executor of Richey’s estate, as well as the couple’s daughter, Tatum Keys Richey. George Richey, who was portrayed by actor Steve Zahn in the miniseries, passed away in 2010.
Claims in the filing include accusations that the miniseries paints Richey out to be an abusive husband who encouraged Wynette’s painkiller addiction and engaged in financial and managerial manipulation of the country star. Attorneys for the Richeys claim Paramount Networks was aware of the non-disparagement agreement with Jones when the company was adapting her book and employing her on the miniseries. The suit asks for Paramount and Showtime to be forced to withdraw George & Tammy from any form of distribution, and be held responsible for restitution to be determined in a trial.
In a statement, the estate’s attorney Todd McMurtry shares, “Showtime transformed George Richey into the villain of its story, raking in profits and views. Showtime unjustly benefitted from Georgette’s violation of her prior contractual promise to never again disparage or encourage the disparagement of the Richey family. We are honored to represent Sheila and Tatum Richey in this important lawsuit. Many serious issues are at stake, and we look forward to addressing them with the court.”
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