Splash News & Picture Agency has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after a recent lawsuit with Meghan Markle exacerbated its already-struggling business, The Hollywood Reporter reports. The agency was among many companies that suffered economic loss from the pandemic, but a legal battle with the Duchess of Sussex has pushed them into massive debt. In December, Markle sued Splash for taking photos of her family during a “private family outing” in Canada, and the company tried to argue free speech. The agency ultimately agreed to a settlement and will “not take unauthorized photographs of the family of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex,” a spokesperson said.
“As a consequence of the global pandemic the availability of celebrity images has declined and budgets within media companies have been cut to reflect wider macro-economic challenges,” the company’s president, Emma Curzon, said. “This situation has been exacerbated by two ongoing litigation cases and the costs of defending these cases.” The company has been known to sue celebrities for posting copy-righted images of themselves. Splash has taken out a $1 million loan and is now pursuing protection from a Nevada bankruptcy court.