Vol. LIV No. 3

Prisoners of Fame: How an Expanded Use of Intrusion Upon Psychological Seclusion Can Protect the Privacy of Former Public Figures

Abstract: Public figures who no longer receive attention in the public sphere have had enormous difficulty regaining the privacy rights they once had. When it comes to limiting the discussion of their personal affairs, both the First Amendment and the common law invasion of privacy torts make no distinctions between former public figures and those currently involved in public affairs. This Note proposes an expanded use of the invasion of privacy tort for unreasonable intrusion upon seclusion to protect the privacy of these “prisoners of fame.” Although the tort is primarily understood to protect individuals from intrusions into physical spaces, this cause of action also protects intrusions into psychological spaces. Former public figures, therefore, must be empowered to bring this claim when offensive public discourse concerning their most private, intimate affairs intrudes upon their psychological seclusion.

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