Fame. Fortune. Far-out lawsuits where anything can happen.
Such are the trappings of big-time stardom and show-biz success — especially in a celeb-packed hotspots like Los Angeles and New York (and, okay — Melbourne, Australia) that are crawling with lawyers.
What follows are five current celebrity legal situations involving celebrity litigants, defendants and, in some cases, both.
1. REBEL WILSON WINS AGAINST MAGS THAT DEEMED HER A SERIAL LIAR
Pitch Perfect funnylady Rebel Wilson won a major defamation suit against Bauer Media, publisher of Woman’s Day magazine and, in the actress’s homeland, Australian Woman’s Day.
The company’s periodicals published claims that Wilson lied about her real name, her actual age, and the circumstances in which she grew up in order to make herself more marketable in Hollywood.
While 37-year-old Wilson did fudge her age — hardly a first in show business — the star contended in court that Bauer portrayed her as a serial liar, and that it damaged her career, costing her high-profile voice gigs in Kung Fu Panda 3 and Trolls.
In addition to her way with a joke, a song, a pratfall, and a leather dress at the MTV Movie Awards, Wilson has a law degree from the University of New South Wales, and proved to be a formidable foe before a jury. After her victory, Wilson told the press she felt the “stain” on her reputation had been removed and added:
“The reason I’m here is not for damages, it’s to clear my name. And the fact the jury has done that unanimously and answered every single of the 40 questions in my favor I think proves what I’ve been saying all along…. I’m a person that’s really confident in my own skin and really felt like it was the right thing to do to take this company on and prove how disgusting and disgraceful their checkbook journalism is.”
Bauer Media will have to pay the actress financial damages which have yet to be determined. [Los Angeles Times]
2. TAYLOR SWIFT SET TO TESTIFY AGAINST DJ IN BUTT-GROPE LAWSUIT
Pop music megastar Taylor Swift, 27, is expected to testify in a Denver court this August as part of a lawsuit involving (now fired) radio disc jockey David Mueller. The suit alleges that he grabbed her butt during a meet-and-greet appearance.
Specifically Swift said:
“[Mueller] reached up under my skirt and grabbed my a– right when I was having to pose for a photo, and it felt intentional that would be the time he would choose to do it.”
Mueller vehemently denies any inappropriate touching. One photo of the alleged incident has appeared online.
Following the accusation, Mueller sued Swift for defamation. The singer-songwriter countersued. A nine-day jury trial is slated to hash out this situation starting on August 7. [Westword]
3. JIM CARREY MAY FACE “WRONGFUL DEATH” TRIAL IN GIRLFRIEND’S SUICIDE
The mother and ex-husband of Cathrinona White, the 33-year-old girlfriend of comedy icon Jim Carrey who killed herself in 2015, are taking the actor to court in a pair of wrongful-death civil lawsuits.
The focal point of the suits is the claim that Carrey, 55, supplied White with the drugs she used to intentionally overdose. The suit alleges that White took Ambien, Percocet, and Propranolol from bottles prescribed to “Arthur King,” which lawyers claim is a bogus name used by Carrey.
In addition, White’s mother has previously claimed that Carrey gave her daughter “three STDs.”
In June 2017, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge allowed the mom’s suit to proceed, and it’s expected to go to trial in a proceeding estimated to last 20 days. [New York Post]
4. VIVICA A. FOX SUED FOR “RUINING” BLACK MALE STRIPPER SHOW
After creating two African-American male-stripper-themed Chocolate City TV movies and a spin-off reality-TV series, writer-director Jean-Claude LaMarre is suing his former collaborator and star for slander and for poaching professional peelers.
Vivica’s Black Magic Live, the name of both a touring strip revue and the reality show, featured Fox as the host. Trouble arose when Fox commented that the beefcake parade was intended for women only. When asked if the Black Magic Live dancers would bump-and-grind for gay men, Fox replied:
“Hell no…. They dance for women. It’s called ‘the ultimate girls’ night out’ for a reason.”
Some gay media outlets called for boycotts. LaMarre deemed Fox’s comments “out of orde,” and the actress publicly apologized.
LaMarre alleges that Fox was so angry at him for not immediately backing her up that she launched a competing male strip show, Xplicit Minds, which she staffed in part with four popular dancers from Black Magic Live. Fox then wrote on social media about Black Magic Live: “I will not be at this show and neither will most of the dancers! Buyer beware.”
Lawyers for LaMarre filed suit, stating:
“As a result of Fox’s defamatory social media campaign, LaMarre’s customers canceled ‘Black Magic Live’ tickets and demanded refunds at show. Fox’s homophobic interview comments and vindictive campaign against LaMarre and ‘Black Magic Live’ destroyed any economic advantages LaMarre expected to enjoy following the reality show.”
There will be no second season of the reality-TV series. [Hollywood Reporter]
5. GHOST: SATANIC METAL BAND EX-MEMBERS SUE SKULL-FACED SINGER
In the grimly theatrical Swedish metal group Ghost, those who play instruments are dubbed “Nameless Ghouls.” They wear ornate head-to-toe black disguises while backing “Papa Emeritus,” a frontman decked out in a Satanic parody of a pope outfit, complete with frowning skull face paint.
Papa is actually 36-year-old singer Tobias Forge and he has been officially named — in more than one sense — in a lawsuit filed by four also-no-longer-nameless Ghouls over claims of unsavory work conditions and financial chicanery.
While Ghost performs odes to evil and eternal damnation, according to the suit the real hellfire occurred offstage where, allegedly, the players had to perform in filthy costumes and potentially unsafe conditions. Lawyers also contend that Forge cheated the band members out of promised money and partnership deals.
Court documents state that the suit arose from Forge’s “unabashed dishonesty, greed, and darkness. Not the darkness of which Ghost sings, but a darkness that pushes a person to betray his best friends when fame and fortune appear within reach.” [AV Club]
Main photo: Rebel Wilson outside court/YouTube video [screenshot]