In advance of the Jordyn Woods-Jada Pinkett Smith interview on Red Table Talk during which a whole bunch of tea might be spilt, a lot of people are asking whether Jordyn Woods has an NDA (opens in new tab), what it covers (the word "ironclad" has been used (opens in new tab)), and whether she'll be breaking it to talk openly about Tristan Thompson, Khloé Kardashian, and her (ex?) best friend Kylie Jenner. All parties are keeping super-quiet on the subject, no surprise there, but it might lead you to wonder: Wait, how does that NDA stuff work again?
First of all, let's explore what a non-disclosure agreement (opens in new tab), or NDA, actually is. It's a contract that, when signed, requires parties to keep whatever's listed in that contract confidential for whatever period of time is listed. NDAs are used for a whole variety of reasons, but, companies use them to protect trade secrets, for example. Celebrities and other wealthy individuals can use them to protect themselves from others talking about them.
What's covered? It'll depend on the language contained in the NDA—the wording of what exactly is included and what the repercussions are for talking are both very important. TV shows, especially reality TV shows, have been working with NDAs for decades, so they've likely perfected the language. If an NDA is too general or broad, sometimes that makes it unenforceable. So, precision is key. (opens in new tab)
It is possible if someone talks vaguely enough about a situation, or obtained information through a third party, the NDA wouldn't even be broken. But that can get tricky, and the stakes are high that the person might accidentally let on more than anticipated or that the inference still gives away too much.
In some cases, nothing happens when someone breaks an NDA, because the legal fees that one might incur in pursuing damages are pretty high. In other words, to sue someone for breaking their NDA takes time and money, not to mention the commitment to engage in what might be a long, potentially public legal battle and a public backlash. It's not for the faint of heart.
But, if the party does sue for breach of contract, copyright infringement, or another intellectual property violation, it can get nasty. Granted, this is business law, but Walgreens sued the infamous biotech company Theranos for breach of contract in 2016 for $140 million (opens in new tab).
Interestingly, an NDA protects non-public information, but if a felony occurs, that NDA can't be enforced. So, that could be another way that a person can still talk, despite having signed an NDA. A judge can also strike down a secrecy requirement if it runs against public interest, such as the Weinstein allegations in which accusers broke their NDAs (opens in new tab).
Obviously, no one in this particular situation is talking, so we'll just have to wait and see!
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Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.
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