Hilary Duff is being sued by a photographer for slander and libel after an incident last year in which she confronted him while he took photographs of her son and other children playing soccer.
Darryl Wilkins filed the suit against Duff in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Friday, accusing her of damaging his reputation by implying he is a child predator in a video she posted to social media of the confrontation.
Duff, 33, posted an Instagram video on February 22, 2020, of her confronting Wilkins and telling him ‘how creepy it is’ for him to have been taking the photos of her son Luca, then aged 7, playing with other children.
‘Go “practice” your photography on ADULTS! Creep! Laws need to change! This is stalking minors! Disgusting!’ she captioned the video, accusing Wilkins of being a member of the paparazzi.
Wilkins is also suing Wendy Williams, Talk WWW Production, and Fox Broadcasting company after the TV host aired some of Duff’s footage on her talk show and took her side, according to court filings seen by DailyMail.com.
Hilary Duff is being sued by a photographer for slander and libel after an incident last year in which she confronted him while he took photographs of her son and other children playing
Duff posted an Instagram video on February 22, 2020 of her confronting Wilkins and telling him ‘how creepy it is’ for him to have been taking the photos
The suit alleges that the defendants engaged in fraud, malice and oppression and consequently owe Wilkins general, specific and punitive damages.
Generally speaking in the U.S., anyone is allowed to take a picture of anyone else who is in public view – like in a park, according to Thomson Reuters FindLaw. Exceptions are made for harassing or stalking.
In the video Duff posted last year, she repeatedly asked Wilkins to stop photographing the children and he repeatedly insisted it was legal to do so.
‘Human to human… can you please stop taking pictures of our children playing football this morning?’ she asks, after questioning who Wilkins was there with.
‘Well, I’m taking pictures. I’m practicing photography and I’m not here to scare you or anything like that. Your paranoia is unwarranted,’ he said.
Duff argued that it was ‘just an uncomfortability factor that these are seven-year-old children and you don’t have a child here.’
Darryl Wilkins filed the suit againt Duff in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Friday, accusing her of damaging his reputation by implying he is a child predator in a video she posted to social media of the confrontation, as pictured above
Wilkins claims she is not ‘a paparazzi or stalker’ and did not act with ‘mal intent or evil wrongdoing’ as he insists he was simply practising his photography skills
She shares her son Luca, eight, with her first husband Mike Comrie. She also has daughter Banks, two, by her current husband Matthew Koma and is now pregnant again.
As the quarrel continued Duff said that she would ‘just post this to my 15 million followers on Instagram and let people know how creepy it is that this is what you’re choosing to do on Saturday morning,’ and he asked: ‘Creepy to who?’
Duff cited ‘all of these parents with these kids,’ to which Wilkins said she was ‘the one making it creepy’.
He then appeared to put his palm over her camera and the footage ends.
Williams played clips of Duff’s video on her show, and after Wilkins was seen asking ‘Creepy to who?’, Williams said: ‘Creepy to me, sir. If you’re practicing photography why wouldn’t you go into a park and take pictures of birds and butterflies?’
Wilkins is suing Duff for defamation – and is also suing Wendy Williams, who aired some of Duff’s footage on her talk show and took her side, as pictured above in 2020
Duff is pictured with her now eight-year-old child Luca Comrie whom she shares with her first husband Mike Comrie. He was playing football as the photographer took pictures
Duff is pictured above with her son Luca and current husband Matthew Koma
She also theorized that Wilkins ‘probably didn’t even recognize Hilary,’ quipping that ‘cash is king’ and Duff should have bribed him to go away.
The suit claims Duff defamed him as she allegedly engaged in ‘reprehensible and despicable conduct including by innuendo that he was a child predator’.
Meanwhile Williams is being sued for slander because Wilkins claims her on-air remarks constitute a repetition of Duff’s claims.
Wilkins insists he was just testing his camera in the park and his suit alleges Williams and Duff made ‘false statements because Wilkins is not a pedophile or child predator and was attempting to take photographs as a photographer and not as a paparazzi or stalker or with mal intent or evil wrongdoing.’
The Younger star has not yet commented on the suit. Duff is pictured in NYC in January
He says that he only learned after the fact that Duff’s son was among those playing.
Wilkins says Duff used ‘her cell phone to videotape the confrontation in which she called Plaintiff among other pejorative terms, a child predator’ and also posted ‘disparaging comments of and about Plaintiff WILKINS on social media as well as in various television appearances’.
Furthermore the plaintiff is accusing Duff and Williams of deliberately ‘directly injur[ing] him in respect to his profession’ and knowingly making untrue statements.
Wilkins also says Duff and Williams knew that social media, the news and talk shows would pick up the story, which he says has become known across America.
‘The above-described words were spoken by defendants, and each of them, with malice, oppression and fraud in that defendant knew the words were false and made the statements with the intent to injure Plaintiff WILKINS, and thus an award of exemplary and punitive damages is justified,’ the suit adds.
As of this Friday the original video posted to Duff’s Instagram page last February has racked up more than two million views.
This was not the first time she had hit out at photographers taking pictures of her son.
In 2018, she shared an Instagram video of a man she claimed followed her from her son’s soccer game to her sister’s house and ‘stalked me down like prey for hours’.
‘When people say that’s what you get for signing up to be a celebrity it honestly makes me sick,’ Duff wrote. ‘This is every day of every month and it’s simply not OK.’
Duff and Williams have not yet commented on the lawsuit.
The first hearing for the case is scheduled to take place on June 30.