In other words, does a CEO share the same protections as a private citizen against slander/libel if the CEO only appears to the public (in interviews, shows, etc.) as a representative of the company instead of for self-aggrandizement?

jurisdiction: US, FL.

  • 3
    Presumably it depends on the prominence of the company. Is the CEO of a major international social network service a public figure? Probably. The CEO of your local yard maintenance service, probably not.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 11, 2019 at 5:07
  • @phoog Even if the CEO of the local yard maintenance service takes part in activities such as interviews? Commented Aug 26, 2019 at 22:22
  • I suppose it would depend on the prominence of those interviews.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 3:10

1 Answer 1


Generally, no

A limited purpose public figure must have "thrust themselves to the forefront of particular public controversies in order to influence the resolution of the issues involved" to be a public figure.

Merely being a CEO doesn’t do this. Being a CEO at the heart of controversy like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or Volkswagen’s Martin Winterkorn does.

  • Could someone else, say a newspaper, thrust a CEO into a controversy that the CEO wasn't trying to be a part of, and satisfy the definition to what makes a public figure? Commented Aug 26, 2019 at 22:20
  • @StephanS yes, people can become public figures involuntarily
    – Dale M
    Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 0:04

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