Per THR, Dwayne Johnson has been bestowed with the privileges granted to journalists in a ruling by the New York Supreme Court.
In 2017 The Rock produced a documentary with HBO entitled Rock and a Hard Place. The feature followed a group of incarcerated juveniles taking part in a six-month rehabilitative "boot camp" program. This opportunity was presented in lieu of a harsher prison sentence.
Christy Laster, who served as one of the correctional officers during the time of filming has since been criminally charged for bribery, grand theft, and extortion. In response, she issued a subpoena to HBO with the hope that outtakes from Rock and a Hard Place would help clear her name.
Citing New York's Shield Law, which safeguards journalists sources and newsgathering materials, HBO sought to overrule the request. Laster's attorney, however, argued that Dwayne Johnson's involvement in the project rendered it a "celebrity reality TV show" as opposed to a "documentary," thus nullifying any protections it would have been afforded by the law.
Judge Carol Edmead did not agree, saying that Laster "cites no authority for the notion that the mere involvement of a celebrity in a project renders it somehow incapable of being classified as a documentary, or that a celebrity known for other endeavors cannot be deemed a 'journalist' under the statute."
Edmead elaborated, pointing out that the Shield Law's "very broad definition of 'professional journalist' encompasses anyone involved in newsgathering. Furthermore, the Court notes that even were the project more entertainment-focused, the broad definition would still likely apply as long as one of the purposes of the project was disseminating news to the public about the youth incarceration program."
The complete ruling, which can be seen here, reiterates that the Respondent "cannot argue that any information contained in Petitioner’s outtakes is critical and necessary when Respondent does not know what the outtakes actually captured. The respondent cannot contend that her defense ‘rises or falls’ on the basis of footage that may not even exist.”
The Rock returns to the big screen on August 2nd when he stars in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.