Orlando Magic basketball player Gilbert Arenas lost his bid to stop the August 29 premiere of Basketball Wives: Los Angeles, in part because his penchant for regularly tweeting "about a variety of mundane occurrences" rendered his daily life a matter of public concern. On August 22, U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee issued an order denying Arenas' motion for a preliminary injunction, and granting the defendant Shed Media's motion to strike, dismissing Arenas' right of publicity cause of action with leave to amend (Case No. CV 11-05279 DMG, Central District of California).
In late June, Arenas filed suit against both Shed Media, the producer of the Basketball Wives series on VH1, and his ex-girlfriend Laura Govan, who is the mother of his four children and a cast member of the new Basketball Wives: Los Angeles spinoff. Arenas brought claims for trademark infringement, trademark dilution and false advertising, in addition to the alleged violation of his right of publicity. In his Complaint, Arenas accused Govan of exploiting her former relationship with him in order to "promote her own commercial brand and become a television personality," and he accused Shed Media of seeking to profit from Govan's "exploitation." Arenas then sought a preliminary injunction to block the defendants from using his name or suggesting any affiliation between Arenas and the show, asserting that he would suffer harm from being associated with a television franchise that "prides itself on its coarse brand of drama, 'cat fights,' and 'infidelity issues.'"
In her order, Judge Gee found that Arenas' trademark infringement claim is "muddled," noting it "would be virtually impossible for Defendants to refer to Arenas without using his name." In addition, she held that the show deserves First Amendment protection. The judge disagreed with Arenas' assertion that his family life is not sufficiently related to his celebrity to render the show's use of his identity a matter of public concern, specifically because there are "tens of thousands of Twitter users who follow Arenas as he tweets about a variety of mundane occurrences." She cited the following tweet as an example: "dont u hate waking up doing the same thing..wash face..brush teeth..pee..take shower (well sum of us)...put on clothes...eat...etc". Judge Gee further noted that Arenas' claim of irreparable harm was undercut by his own behavior: he had associated himself with the show by tweeting about Govan's upcoming appearance on it.