The man taking on Gwyneth Paltrow in a Utah civil trial over a 2016 ski collision has apologised for saying that the actor had been screaming like “King Kong in the jungle”.
Terry Sanderson, 76, said on Wednesday that during the 2019 press conference when he made the comment, he had intended to say that she screamed like a woman being chased by King Kong.
The trial is taking place in Park City, Utah, the site of the annual Sundance Film Festival, where Ms Paltrow was involved in a collision with a retired eye doctor on the slopes of the Deer Valley Resort.
Mr Sanderson is seeking $300,000 in damages for physical and emotional issues he argues are linked to the crash. He claims she caused the collision and that he suffered brain damage and broken ribs. Ms Paltrow is seeking $1 and for her legal costs to be covered, arguing that Mr Sanderson caused the collision.
He faced Ms Paltrow when he said that suing the celebrity had been difficult, but he said that “somebody has to be” held “accountable,” according to BBC News.
After apologising to Ms Paltrow for the King Kong comment, Mr Sanderson then went on to compare the actor to Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex criminal and disgraced financier who died by suicide in a Manhattan jail in August 2019.
The closing arguments are set to take place on Thursday. On Wednesday, Mr Sanderson made the comparison between Ms Paltrow and Epstein, prompting the actor’s lawyer to slam it as “ridiculous testimony” and the judge to tell the jury to disregard the comment, according to Newsweek.
The retired optometrist and army captain said during his testimony, “I guess like, what is going on here? This is obviously an issue that someone needs to be accountable for, and if they’re never accountable, what are they gonna do? They’re gonna do it again”.
“Now we have the... molesting of young children on an island,” he added, seemingly referring to Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean known as Little St James.
Paltrow lawyer Stephen Owens began, “this is ridiculous testimony”.
“Sustained as to relevance. The last part, the jury should disregard,” the judge, Kent Holmberg, said.
Mr Sanderson’s lawyer, Kristin VanOrman, had asked him if it was “important to you to bring this lawsuit?”
Mr Sanderson spoke of the insults he has been on the receiving end of for suing a famous person, before seemingly making the comparison to Epstein.
The comparison was dismissed in the proceedings but made the rounds on social media.
“Not a Utah lawyer but this kind of whimsical narrative testimony is objectionable in a lot of places, even when it’s Epstein-less,” attorney Ryan McCarthy said.
“I hate this man for making me take Gwenyth Paltrow’s side on ANYTHING! I feel like I should be able to sue him for that,” a third Twitter user said.
“Aaand next we get to watch the Gwyn vs Terry defamation trial,” one account holder suggested.
“How in the hell did he get from a skiing accident to molesting children?? I honest to God don’t think I have EVER seen such an insane trial as this one!” another Twitter user said.