This Week in Lawsuits: Kanye West and Courtney Love Get Served
Published January 6, 2011
It’s been a good week, we think, to be a lawyer representing a high-profile celebrity client. Beyond your average, workaday legal troubles (e.g., Jamie Pressly’s DUI), a couple of slightly more interesting cases have come to light over the last few days, involving controversy queen Courtney Love (whom we’ve always imagined is a vigorous self-Googler: hi, Court!) and controversy king Kanye West.
The Hollywood Reporter broke a story Tuesday afternoon about Love, who is currently involved in what THR calls “the first high-profile defamation trial over a celebrity’s comments on Twitter.” Love starting blasting designer Dawn Simorangkir via tweet after the two had “a dispute” over payment for clothes. The story goes on to say that Love “announced that Simorangkir was a drug-pushing prostitute with a history of assault and battery who lost custody of her own child and capitalized on Love’s fame before stealing from her.” James Janowitz, Love’s attorney, contends that he and his client don’t believe defamation existed, and even if it did, there was no damage. (Still, ask yourself: had you heard of Dawn Simorangkir before this moment?) And a defamation expert consulted by THR went on record saying “I would hope courts give tweets the same latitude as they do an op-ed piece or a letter to the editor.” RT if you agree! Love’s trial will begin in a month, on February 6.
As for Kanye, the Post reported today that according to Manhattan photographer Michael Vazquez, West and a security team “assaulted, battered, beat and threatened” him at a May 2008 gig at Guastavino’s celebrating the Casio G-Shock watch. Vazquez is seeking unspecified damages. Obviously, this is horrible if it’s true, but we have to laugh at the Post‘s reporting of the story: a tertiary detail is that West was backed up by topless dancers at the show, which has absolutely nothing to do with the alleged beating, but which somehow still made it into the Post‘s headline.