Comedian being sued by husband hits legal fight funding target
A British comedian at the Adelaide Fringe Festival who allegedly defamed her estranged husband on stage has secured more than $17,000 in crowdfunding to assist her legal fight.
Louise Beamont, who performs as Louise Reay, said she was facing "defamation, privacy and data protection proceedings" over her stand-up show Hard Mode, which last year won an Adelaide Fringe Best Emerging Artist Weekly Award.
Beamont said her estranged husband alleged the show portrayed him as being abusive, which she denies.
She was forced to write an entirely new performance — called Eraserhead — in just 48 hours before her debut at the Adelaide Fringe, after being advised by lawyers she should not perform her show Gaslight, the sequel to Hard Mode, while legal proceedings were ongoing.
In a letter issued last week, Beamont's lawyers said she had "used Mr Reay's image a couple of times" in Hard Mode as well as footage from their wedding, but it was "in no way a show about her husband".
"While performing the show after their separation, Louise mentioned her husband a couple of times but this was in the context of telling the audience how sad she was that they had recently separated," Beamont's lawyers said in the letter.
"Mr Reay has claimed that there are sections of the show which will have been understood by the audience to mean that he was abusive to Louise."
Beamont thanks fans and comedians for support
On Saturday night, podcast The Guilty Feminist did a call out to its audience to support Beamont's legal fees.
Fellow comedians have leapt to her defence, and supporters have so far raised more than $17,000 on a crowdfunding site — reaching Beamont's target of 10,000 British pounds.
"I am overwhelmed by the level of support I have received with my crowdfunding efforts," Beamont said in a statement on the page.
"In particular, Grainne MaGuire, Sara Pascoe and Deborah Frances-White have been incredible.
"Phill Jupitus kindly offered to do a benefit gig and a large group of comedians are planning to go to a show in a West End theatre to help me generate funds for my legal costs, which is very touching."
She said Adelaide audiences have been supporting her by watching her new show, Eraserhead, which "explores issues of free expression, censorship and oppression in modern Britain" and runs until March 6 at Tuxedo Cat.