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On Thursday, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge will hear a novel First Amendment battle over the extent to which an in vitro father can mention his child’s name.
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At the center of the dispute is actor Jason Patric, who has been locked in a custody battle with his ex-girlfriend Danielle Schreiber over their four-year-old son Gus, who was born through artificial insemination. Thanks to California law, which grants the mother full custody unless there is a written agreement establishing parental rights before conception, a judge has denied The Lost Boys star access to his son.
As the custody issue goes to an appellate court next month, Patric has launched an organization called Stand Up for Gus to raise awareness of parental alienation. At a fundraising event last autumn, Matt Damon, Kiefer Sutherland and Jon Hamm were among the celebrities on hand. Patric has also built awareness for the project with interviews on shows like 20/20 and The View. The actor has also established Twitter and Facebook pages that mention and picture Gus.
According to Patty Glaser, one of the Glaser Weil attorneys representing Schreiber, this amounts to a “public relations tirade” from a father who she says didn’t want his name on the birth certificate so as to avoid attention from the paparazzi.
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Schreiber is now demanding a restraining order. “We are asking him not to use the childs name and likeness for commercial purposes without moms permission,” Glaser tells The Hollywood Reporter.
In the past, celebrities like Liam Neeson and Sandra Bullock have been the ones leaning on likeness rights laws to stop the unauthorized use of their fame. Other celebrities have asserted privacy laws to keep the media from intruding upon their space. In this case, it’s the other way around, as the celebrity is the one raising a First Amendment defense.
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Jason Patric's Sperm Spawns First Amendment Battle