Celebrity Justice - The FindLaw Celebrities and The Law Blog

February 2017 Archives

Amid some controversy, the California legislature passed AB 1687, which prohibits websites, like IMDb, from publishing the ages of actors and actresses online. However, a federal judge has temporarily halted this law from going into effect, as a result of a preliminary injunction requested by the website IMDb, which promptly filed a lawsuit to stop this new, rather awkward, law.

The law is intended to help prevent age discrimination in the entertainment industry, but has been, preliminarily, found to be too much of a restriction on the First Amendment rights of the plaintiff, IMDb. The court reasoned that while preventing discrimination is a compelling purpose, the new law simply fails to do so.

Jay Z, known legally as Shawn Carter, has sold drugs, spit rhymes, steered Def Jam Records, and started restaurants, clothing lines, sports agencies, and streaming music services. Now he's going after the big bucks. The rapper/entrepreneur is launching his own venture capital firm, aimed at funding seed-stage companies.

It's not Jay Z's first foray into investing, but it might be his biggest.

America's former favorite TV dad's fall from grace has been a harrowing and conflicting experience for longtime fans. In the wake of rape allegations, Cosby's attorney issued numerous statements denying the allegations. One statement, issued in letter form to a news organization, became the basis of a defamation lawsuit against Cosby brought by one of his rape accusers. Last week, this defamation suit was dismissed by a federal court because the judge ruled that the letter, which formed the basis of the claim, was drafted in such a way to immunize the writer from defamation liability.

The lawsuit was filed by Katherine McKee, an actress and former girlfriend of Sammy Davis Jr., who told her story during a 2014 interview about how Cosby raped her in 1974. After she told her story, Cosby's attorney issued a written statement to the news outlet that called Ms. McKee's story into question, and opined that she was not telling the truth. McKee's defamation case asserted that this letter, in essence, falsely called her a liar and caused her reputational harm and damages.

Last week, criminal charges were filed against five major Hollywood casting agencies as a result of a pay to play investigation conducted by the Los Angeles City Attorney. The casting agencies/firms facing charges include: Actors Alley, The Actors Link, The Actors Key, Studio Productions, and The Casting Network.

Under the Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act, no casting agency, or other organization involved in casting a role, can charge the talent in order to audition. The firms and individuals charged in the action have done the casting for some recent, and some not so recent, hits including:

Although imitation may be considered by some as the sincerest form of flattery, in the music industry and art world, it's usually considered the basis for a lawsuit.

The estate of Messy Mya, a.k.a. Anthony Barre, a YouTube star that was killed in 2010, is suing superstar Beyonce for $20 million due to an alleged theft of samples. The lawsuit is seeking monetary damages for unpaid royalties and copyright infringement not just from the song sales, but also from the unauthorized use of Mya's work during concerts and in music videos. Barre's estate asserts that Beyonce ignored requests to negotiate the matter.

Before Donald Trump was elected president, there were many questions about the ethical conflicts he might face if he failed to divest himself from his many business ventures. After his election, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington even filed a lawsuit citing those concerns.

But perhaps those worried that business interests would invade the White House were worried about the wrong Trump. In a libel lawsuit against British tabloid the Daily Mail, Melania Trump appears to consider her role as First Lady to be a "unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to make millions of dollars.

In the never ending saga that is the Dr. Luke versus Kesha lawsuit, new allegations have surfaced and each side has amended their respective lawsuits against each other. While Kesha's lawsuit was amended to include seemingly random statements about Dr. Luke that tend to not have any legal bearing whatsoever, Dr. Luke's new claims appear to be legally sound and based upon actual events.

In addition to the new claims about new commissions owed by Kesha to Dr. Luke under the contract for recent performances, it is being claimed that Kesha made defamatory statements about Dr. Luke to the superstar Lady Gaga via text message. Allegedly, Kesha texted to Lady Gaga that Dr. Luke had raped her and another recording artist. The text message defamatory statement to Lady Gaga was then used as the basis for other statements made by Lady Gaga about Dr. Luke, which in turn, led to reputational damage for Dr. Luke.

Frank Ocean, the singer-songwriter that gained repute in 2011 with his hit single Novacane, has recently been sued by his own father for libel, defamation, sinning, and more. The lawsuit stems from a Tumblr blog post that Ocean published as a reaction to the Pulse Nightclub shooting that took place on June 12, 2016. Ocean, who identifies as gay, was shaken by the shooting at the nightclub, which was a popular spot for the gay community, and published his thoughts on the tragedy on Tumblr. Through the lawsuit, he is seeking $14.5 million.

In the Tumblr post, Ocean recalls the first time he heard the use of the pejorative f-word used to demean homosexuals. Allegedly, Ocean was with his father at a diner, when his father used the word to describe a transgendered waitress. Then, Ocean and his father left, and Ocean recalled that his father said the waitress was dirty. Additionally, Ocean remarked in that same post that the same day his father did that, was the same day his father left him. Previously, in a New York Times profile, Ocean refused to say anything about his father other than that he left when Ocean was 6, and that he was a failed musician who "went crazy."

The daytime Emmy Award winning producer, Andre Bauth, also known as Andre Salaman Bautista, from Colombia, was found guilty last week of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Bautista won an Emmy in April 2015 for his work producing the online soap opera, "The Bay." The incident occurred after he got really upset while watching the Oscars with his roommates and tenants back in September 2015.

The producer and actor took offense and got upset after his Oscar watching buddies laughed at him after he said that he would win 5 Oscars one day. However, the laughter turned his rage deadly, and Bautista got a knife and stabbed one of his tenants in the chest for laughing at his Oscar aspirations. Fortunately, the tenant was able to receive immediate medical attention and as a result survived the attacked which punctured his lung.

The popular rapper and actor 50 Cent has filed an action against his former attorneys seeking over $30 million, or 60 million of himself. Basically, 50 Cent is asserting that legal malpractice caused him to lose the highly publicized sex tape case against him, and that a breach of fiduciary duty by his former attorneys occurred both during that representation and when they later advised him to declare bankruptcy.

50 Cent, also known as Curtis Jackson, is no stranger to legal filings. He has been the plaintiff and defendant in several legal matters over the past several years. The sex tape case however resulted in a $7 million dollar judgment against him.

The former Mrs. Bergen County, Soneca Guadara, is facing criminal charges as a result of an alcohol fueled party involving 10 minors, where she may not have even been present. When one minor was discovered drunk and passed out off the property in the neighborhood, police were called. Officers discovered nine additional juveniles at Guadara's home where alcohol was being served, and described the situation as the "standard kids getting together having alcohol party."

The 47-year-old former beauty queen lives in the suburbs of New Jersey and is now a fashion designer. It is likely that one of the former beauty queen's four children hosted a party and invited minor guests, but details on the incident are scant. What is known is that Guadara is facing criminal charges for nuisance, as well as "leaving property in custody of another where alcohol was being served to minors."

Also, while authorities assert that she was arrested, Guadara maintains that she was never arrested, charged, or even notified. Lastly, it was reported that the drunk minor found passed out was transported to the hospital, and that there are no other criminal charges being filed at this time.

Given the social history of the United States, it is not surprising that American culture glorifies criminals, not just at home, but all over the world. After all, our earliest intellectuals were proponents of civil disobedience and actually broke the law to found the country.

Throughout history, there have been criminals that have captured the imaginations of the American people, reaching superstar levels of fandom. Whether it was Bonnie and Clyde, Al Capone, or the ever so secretive Carlo Gambino, it is hard to deny that these individuals have been glorified and idolized.

Below, you'll find a list of 3 such famous, or better yet, infamous, drug lords, and where you can see their glorified story dramatized.