EXCLUSIVEA judge has tossed out a defamation lawsuit filed by the man who famously heckled Bristol Palin on her reality show … and even ordered him to pay her attorneys fees … TMZ has learned.
As TMZ previously reported, Stephen Hanks filed a lawsuit against Palin and A&E (parent company of Lifetime) following his encounter with Palin in a Hollywood bar that aired as part of her show, "Bristol Palin: Life's a Tripp."
During the confrontation, Hanks called Bristol's mom Sarah "evil" and a "whore" and Bristol said the man was gay ... saying she could "tell" by the way he looked.
Hanks went after Bristol and A&E on several levels. First, he claimed he never signed a waiver to appear on the show. Second, he claimed the show invaded his privacy by airing Bristol's comments about Hanks being gay. And third, he claimed Bristol damaged his reputation when she later gave an interview saying that Hanks' hurtful comments are what caused her leave Los Angeles and move back to Alaska.
But a judge ruled in favor of Bristol and A&E on every count -- saying the show was protected by the First Amendment and that Hanks did not have his privacy violated because no unknown facts about him were disclosed (A&E had argued that Hanks is out as a gay man on his social media accounts).
The judge also ruled that Hanks has to cover Palin's attorney's fees.