6 celebrity lawsuits in the news

Justin Bieber gets loud, James Franco skips class and four more celebrities making headlines

© Daniel Ogren

Blasting Bieber

There are those who find it metaphorically painful to listen to Justin Bieber’s music. But Oregon resident Stacey Betts is suing the star for the actual physical anguish she purportedly suffered after attending one of his concerts.

Betts and her daughter attended one of the singer’s concerts in July 2010. While riding in a heart-shaped gondola above the audience, Bieber purportedly “enticed the crowd into a frenzy of screams by continuously waving his arms in a quick and upward motion,” resulting in a “wave like effect of screaming” that exceeded safe decibel levels. Betts says she suffered hearing loss, severe tinnitus and oversensitivity to sound in the wake of the show. She is suing the star, the concert promoter and the arena for $9.2 million

© David Shankbone

Flunking Franco

With his multiple movies, his endorsement deals and his much-discussed Oscar hosting gig, actor James Franco has been busy the past few years—too busy to attend class, according to one of his former professors.

One-time New York University (NYU) professor Jose Angel Santana says he gave the actor a “D” in a directing class after Franco attended just 12 of 14 class sessions. According to Santana, NYU subsequently fired him over the poor grade, although Franco told several media outlets that “[Santana] was asked not to come back…because they didn’t think he was a good teacher.” Now Santana, who is already suing NYU over his firing, has filed a defamation suit against the actor.

© Joella Marano

Wing Wars

Rapper Jay-Z seems to have everything: a beautiful wife, a newborn daughter and a $450 million fortune. But there’s one thing he doesn’t possess—the perfect recipe for chicken wings.

 Jay-Z sued Mike Shand, formerly the head chef at the star’s 40/40 Club restaurant, for refusing to turn over the recipe for the popular menu item when he left the eatery this year. Shand’s lawyer says that the chef was fired from his post, and that the spice mix recipe was his own. Jay-Z was seeking $1.5 million in damages, but the New York Post reports that he agreed to drop the suit last month.

© Robert Castro

Pop Philosophy

Kanye West is off the hook in a copyright infringement suit, thanks to a little help from Friedrich Nietzche. Rapper Vince Peters, aka Vince P, sued his fellow hip-hop artist last year, claiming that West’s 2007 hit “Stronger” was ripped off from Peters’ own song of the same name. West countered that the song’s title was based on the Nietzche quote: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall agreed with West’s argument, and also cited a recent Kelly Clarkson song called “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” in her opinion. “Although the fact that both songs quote from a 19th century German philosopher might, at first blush, seem to be an unusual coincidence,” Kendall wrote, “West correctly notes that the aphorism has been repeatedly invoked in song lyrics over the past century. Notably, an even more recent popular song [Clarkson’s]…also shares this key feature with both West’s and Vince P’s songs.”

Baby Bottle

The Prince of Darkness isn’t known for being kind to doves or bats, and one Arizona woman says he isn’t nice to babies either. According to Ozzy Osbourne’s former guitarist, Zakk Wylde, the Black Sabbath star was performing in Phoenix on a hot day when he saw a woman holding her one-year-old baby. In an effort to help the pair stay cool, Osbourne tried to drop a bottle of water to the mother, but accidentally hit her baby in the head. The woman has reportedly filed an $80,000 lawsuit against the singer.

© Cristiano Del Riccio

Belittled Bartenders

Two black bartenders who worked for chef Wolfgang Puck’s catering company are suing the organization for discrimination, after reportedly being subjected to “a racially motivated verbal attack” by a white coworker, who told them that they were worthless and that they should be replaced by Mexican employees. “The connotation of this offensive language is that African Americans were such bad workers and lacking in intelligence that their jobs should be given to Mexicans,” Robert Garmon and Rodney Spinato allege in their suit. After complaining about the comments, the two were fired.

The men say that white bartenders were allowed to continue working, even after management caught them drinking on the job, chewing tobacco in front of customers and stealing money from the registers. Garmon and Spinato are seeking for lost wages and unspecified damages.

 

 

Contributing Author

Alanna Byrne

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