Dodi’s Dad Wants Paul Anka’s Autobio Pulled From Shelves

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – Paul Anka’s autobiography “My Way” defamed Dodi Fayed’s father to trade on “the public’s insatiable interest in and enduring love for Princess Diana,” Mohamed Al Fayed claims in court.
     Al Fayed sued Anka and his co-author David Dalton in Superior Court, alleging defamation, false light invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and misuse of private information.
     Dodi Fayed died in a Paris car crash with the Princess of Wales on Aug. 31, 1997. His father, Mohamed, is the billionaire-owner of Harrods department stories.
     Calling “My Way” a “sensationalized, self-styled autobiography,” Al Fayed claims that Anka and Dalton “callously include false and defamatory passages about plaintiff to attract attention to and to generate sales of the book.”
     He claims that Anka, who gained fame as a singer-songwriter in 1950s and ’60s, is trading on his son’s name to profit from “the public’s insatiable interest in and enduring love for Princess Diana.”
     Anka, best known for writing “The Tonight Show” theme for Johnny Carson, also scored hits crooning “Lonely Boy,” “Put Your Head on my Shoulder,” and wrote the English lyrics for Frank Sinatra’s hit, “My Way,” which was written in French as “Comme d’habitude.”
     Parts of Anka’s book were excerpted in the British newspaper the Daily Mail in late March. Mohamed Al Fayed claims the excerpts portray his son as a cocaine abusing “deadbeat,” and womanizing “‘Daddy’s boy.'”
     “My Way” claims, among other things, that U.S. Customs seized cash that Dodi tried to smuggle into America, and that Anka, a “father-figure” to the young Fayed, loaned him $150,000, according to the complaint.
     Anka’s claimed that when Dodi failed to repay him, he called his father on the phone, and that Mohammed Al Fayed paid Anka “hush money” to keep him from calling the police.
     Al Fayed claims that “My Way” falsely portrays him “as being in agreement with Anka’s outrageous assessment of Dodi’s purported poor character as a criminal, womanizing, drug-using deadbeat who lived beyond his means and who had to have ‘Daddy’ come to his rescue, even to the extent of an alleged willingness to pay ‘hush money.'”
     The complaint adds: “The book and the article further falsely imply that plaintiff perceived that his son Dodi was so irresponsible and culpable of the attributes alleged by Anka, that plaintiff caused in some manner Dodi’s Los Angeles home to be shut down and for Dodi to be removed from Los Angeles and made to return to England in order to correct, limit or punish his son’s acknowledged misconduct.”
     “My Way” also suggests that Dodi’s “behavior was a contributing factor in the deaths of Dodi and Princess Diana, by portraying Dodi as the type of person who would always tell a driver or chauffeur to drive faster to elude paparazzi,” Al Fayed claims.
     Anka wrote: “‘When he [Dodi] got involved with Princess Di, all that anxiety must have increased exponentially because the paparazzi was on their tracks, day and night. It was always about speed with him. Fast, fast, fast,'” according to the complaint.
     Al Fayed says he “then and now loved and respected his son Dodi, and was and remains proud of his son’s many accomplishments and good works.”
     “Plaintiff most definitely did not hold or express the wrong-headed, mean-spirited view of Dodi which defendants have expressed through their defamatory publications,” the complaint states.
     St. Martin’s Press, Macmillan Publishers, Holtzbrinck Publishers, the Daily Mail, DMG Media, and Associated Newspapers also are named as defendants.
     Al Fayed seeks punitive damages and wants the publishers ordered to pull Anka’s book off the shelves.
     He is represented by Kenneth Sidel with Gipson Hoffman & Pancione.

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