The National Enquirer has already had its say over Philip Seymour Hoffman’s love life in supermarket stands across the U.S., claiming that he had a gay lover and was confused about his sexual identity. Now, the man that they claimed to have interviewed to gather this information says that it is positively false and that the interview never even took place. He plans to sue.
David Bar Katz, a screenwriter best known for his 1997 screenplay The Pest and who was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in 1998 for his work on the show Freak, was the man who discovered Hoffman after his assumed overdose and death. The National Enquirer identifies him by name in their article, saying that Bar Katz claimed the pair had a relationship and were gay lovers. The story was written by Robert Hartlein, Brette Trost and John Blosser.
The in-person outright denial of the quote was quickly followed up by a lawsuit in which Bar Katz’s lawyer stated his client’s claims. It goes on to say that Bar Katz and Hoffman were never lovers and that Bar Katz had not seen him using cocaine on the night before his death and had never seen him use cocaine or heroin before in his life.
The lawsuit called the article “disgusting” and discussed how the Enquirer printed the obviously false story simply to make money off of grieving fans as well as Hoffman’s friends and family. It seeks $5 million for damages as well as an additional $45 million for punitive damages.
When called for comment, a man who identified himself as the editor in chief of the National Enquirer said that he hadn’t heard of any lawsuit being filed against the tabloid, claiming that a staff reporter had done the interview Sunday. However, when questioned further and asked to confirm his identity as Tony Frost, the British head of the rag, the man hung up.
Autopsy reports for the actor have come up inconclusive, despite the report that he was found with a needle in his arm. A search of his Greenwich Village apartment revealed over 50 glassine envelopes of heroin as well as a number of prescription medication such as blood pressure pills and muscle relaxants.
An official with the NYPD has said that the toxicology report could determine if Hoffman’s will be ruled a homicide. If the heroin sold to the actor had been altered by the dealer in such a way to make him overdose, such as by adding fentanyl to the product to give buyers a double shot, they could then be arrested on charges of the actor’s death.
Four possible suspects were taken into police custody for selling the actor the drugs, one of which reportedly did have Hoffman’s cell phone number on his phone. According to the New York Times, 350 bags of heroin were discovered at the scene of the arrests as well. It is unknown at this time if the bags found match the bags unearthed in a search of the actor’s apartment.
Philip Seymour Hoffman’s private funeral will be held in New York City on Friday. It is unclear yet whether further news of his alleged gay lover will be silenced by either Bar Katz’s suit or out of some simple respect for the family.
By Marisa Corley