HOLLYWOOD—Actors, singers, producers, athletes, royals and many other high-profile people linked to show business have at one time or another ended up in court, to either defend themselves or in an effort to win a lawsuit. The legal system has many times seen frivolous lawsuits. Some cases have ended in documentaries, films, TV series and bestselling books. Some lawsuits have shed light on decades long depravity in the entertainment industry.
It’s really interesting the never-ending interest in the legal ups and downs of the rich and famous. You may recall some of Hollywood’s biggest names in the Harvey Weinstein scandal. The magnitude of the accusations brought to the court of law and in the public opinion elevated the #MeToo movement into a worldwide phenomenon. There is no shortage of celebrities getting themselves into legal hot water.
Can you believe it’s over 25 years since the former NFL star OJ Simpson was acquitted of all criminal charges in the 1994 double murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend Ron Goldman. Everyone remembers the intensity of the televised event. In 1997, a civil court found Simpson liable for Brown and Goldman’s deaths and ordered him to pay millions to the victim’s families.
Then in September 2007, Simpson entered a Las Vegas hotel room, armed, arguing he was righteously reclaiming his own sports memorabilia. He faced several charges which included armed robbery and kidnapping. Simpson was found guilty and sentenced to 33 years in prison. He was paroled in 2017 after serving nine years, his minimum sentence.
Actress Scarlett Johansson in 2021 along with Walt Disney Studios agreed to settle. Scarlett settled for $40 million after she sued the studio for breach of contract. The movie giant released “Black Widow” on its streaming platform, Disney+, and in theaters simultaneously without the actor’s knowledge or consent. Johansson claimed the decision to dual-release hurt the box office profits, of which she was supposed to receive a 15 percent share. She had originally requested $100 million in compensation, however, after the settlement, both the studio and the actor expressed their satisfaction with the agreement and desire to continue working together.
Swifties know that in 2015, radio DJ David Mueller filed a lawsuit against singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for defamation after he was “wrongfully terminated” by his employer following an altercation with Swift, according to his claim. Swift countersued Mueller for battery and sexual assault and demanded to be paid a symbolic amount of $1.
After a high-profile trial in 2017, the jury favored Swift and ordered the former DJ to pay the singer $1 for intentionally lifting her skirt and grabbing her buttock during a photo op. Even though Mueller requested a $3 million reparation payment, claiming he wouldn’t be able to work in radio ever again, he was back on the airwaves less than six months later.
In 2022, A London High Court judge ruled in favor of singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran after he was sued by composers Sami Chokri and Ross O’ Donoghue for copyright infringement. After an 11-day trial in which Sheeran’s hit song “Shape of You,” the judge settled the case, stating the English star “neither deliberately nor subconsciously” copied parts of Chokri’s song “Oh Why.”
Sheeran has said many times that he’s not a piggy bank for anyone to shake. He repeatedly has spoken out about unethical people trying to reach financial settlements through “baseless claims” of copyright infringement. One of the most explosive, intriguing cases was Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s, we were all addicted to the courtroom.
The latest is Lizzo being sued for the second time this year by a former employee who claims she oversaw an “unsafe, sexually charged workplace culture.” According to published reports, fashion designer Asha Daniels accused the star’s wardrobe manager of making “racist and fatphobic” comments and mocking black women in the entourage. Lizzo was named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed in LA last week, but was not directly accused of harassment. In filed legal papers, Daniels said she was hired to work on Lizzo’s tour in February 2023, but immediately found the environment to be “hostile” and “abusive.”
Rose’s Scoop: The writer’s strike reached a tentative agreement on September 24, after days of marathon negotiating sessions. The Writers Guild of America indicated paving a path forward to end the historic work stoppage that has paralyzed much of Hollywood. In political news, Senator Menendez was indicted for alleged corruption. Interesting, his party which was scheduled for September 24 was postponed for a later date.