Public Figure Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Public Figure, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Public Figure?

Usually used in defamation lawsuits, where a person who files the suit has been a great public interest willingly or unwillingly or has ben a well known persoanlity amongst the public like that of politician, models, film stars etc.They file a suit if their image or character is harmed either in writing or publishing.But they have a heavy burden of proof on them.

History and Meaning of Public Figure

The term "Public Figure" is used in defamation lawsuits as a legal concept that refers to a person who has gained fame or notoriety in the eyes of the public. Public figures can include politicians, celebrities, athletes, and other individuals who have voluntarily or involuntarily become the subject of public interest. In order to prove defamation, a public figure must demonstrate that the defendant acted with actual malice, meaning that they knew the statement was false or acted with reckless disregard for the truth.

Examples of Public Figure

  1. A well-known celebrity who files a defamation lawsuit against a gossip magazine that published false statements about their personal life.
  2. A politician who sues a media company for publishing an article accusing them of corruption.
  3. A prominent business executive who takes legal action against an online forum that spreads false rumors about their financial dealings.
  4. An athlete who files a defamation lawsuit against a broadcaster who accuses them of using performance-enhancing drugs.
  5. A social media influencer who takes legal action against a company that uses their image without permission in their advertising.

Legal Terms Similar to Public Figure

  1. Private Figure: The opposite of a public figure, someone who has not become a subject of public interest.
  2. Actual Malice: The standard of proof required to show defamation in a public figure case.
  3. Libel: A false written statement about a person that harms their reputation.
  4. Slander: A false spoken statement about a person that harms their reputation.
  5. Damages: The monetary compensation that can be awarded in a defamation case for harm to a person's reputation.