Enquirer Funds Prize After Publishing Hoffman Lies

Actor's friend sought settlement he would want

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 26, 2014 1:04 AM CST

(Newser) – A National Enquirer story filled with lies about Philip Seymour Hoffman's last days has spawned a foundation dedicated to the actor's pursuit of artistic truth. After playwright David Bar Katz—the friend who found Hoffman's body earlier this month—spotted the story claiming he and Hoffman had been lovers who took drugs the night before the actor's death, he launched a libel suit against the tabloid, the New York Times reports. He dropped it after the Enquirer agreed to fund the American Playwriting Foundation, which will fund an annual playwrights' prize of $45,000.

Katz, who didn't seek any personal payment from the Enquirer, says he wanted a settlement that would have meant something to Hoffman. "We had talked so often that it’s a tragedy playwrights can’t survive being playwrights—about how nice it would be if you could make your rent and still have an occasional steak," he says. The tabloid has also paid for a full-page ad in today's NYT, in which it will explain how it was duped by a man it tracked down who had the same name as Katz. The wording was provided by Katz's lawyer, who slammed the Enquirer to the Wrap earlier this month. "The article is just disgusting," he said. "Here you have Phil's family and his friends grieving, and the Enquirer comes along seeking to make a buck through putrid lies."

David Bar Katz, right, arrives for the actor's funeral at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola.
David Bar Katz, right, arrives for the actor's funeral at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Philip Seymour Hoffman poses for a photo during the Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, Utah last month.
Philip Seymour Hoffman poses for a photo during the Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, Utah last month.   (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP, file)
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The issue was never me being outraged at being accused of being gay—we’re theater guys, who cares? The issue was lying about the drugs, that I would betray my friend by telling confidences. - David Bar Katz

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