Eddie Money says his First Amendment right to artistic expression trumps a claim from his former drummer that he was axed because of his age and disability, according to an anti-SLAPP motion to strike a portion of the complaint filed Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
For now, Money’s attorneys are only addressing the initial complaint that Symmonds was illegally fired because of his age and complications of bladder cancer and a back injury.
“Even though Symmonds’ claim is frivolous, it raises serious First Amendment concerns,” states the motion. “The performance of music is a fundamental First Amendment right. Eddie’s choice of the members of his band furthers and is directly connected to this right.”
Money says the events resulting in the lawsuit were sparked by his decision to tour with his children for the summer of 2015, which he argues is protected artistic expression. The rocker intended to rehire the band after his family tour. Symmonds and his fiancee Tami Landrum responded with a “malicious and unwarranted attack” consisting of disparaging internet posts and threatening voicemails left for concert promoters, Money claims, and that’s why the drummer wasn’t rehired.
“Eddie made this decision because he wanted to spend time with and artistically express himself musically with his family during the summer,” states the motion. “Even if Symmonds denies that he was the source of the threatening messages to promoters and false statements to fans, Eddie logically believed him to be the source and his decision not to bring Symmonds back to the band was based on that belief.”
The anti-SLAPP motion acknowledges that the First Amendment wouldn’t allow Money to discriminate based on age or health, but says Symmonds won’t be able to prove that he did. “The fact that Eddie did not invite Symmonds to rejoin the band had nothing whatsoever to do with his age,” states the motion. “Nor did it have anything to do with the fact that Symmonds had been diagnosed with cancer a few years earlier.”
Money’s attorney Charles Shephard says the allegations involving Landrum that were added to the amended complaint are salacious and maliciously false. “We will treat most of the meritless claims by way of summary judgment as the case progresses,” states the motion.
One of those allegations is that during a 2013 radio interview Money pretended a microphone was his penis and hit Landrum in the face with it.
Money turned to Facebook to tell his fans how he feels about the lawsuit. “Glenn Symmonds and his girlfriend are trying to damage my reputation not only as a professional entertainer, but as a husband and a father,” he writes. “Having something like that happen to you is like the Twilight Zone, so preposterous and downright evil.”
His full post is below.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter