Congressman Devin Nunes Files $250M Complaint Against Twitter

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California GOP Rep. Devin Nunes is suing Twitter and several of its unnamed users for $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages, and is accusing the social media site of “shadow-banning conservatives” to influence the 2018 elections.

In the complaint filed Monday in the Circuit Court for the county of Henrico, Virginia, Nunes says Twitter attempted to derail his work on the House Intelligence Committee by “knowingly hosting and monetizing content that is clearly abusive, hateful and defamatory – providing both a voice and financial incentive to the defamers – thereby facilitating defamation on its platform.”

A Twitter spokesperson did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Also Read: Devin Nunes Steps Aside From House’s Russia Probe as He Becomes Target of Ethics Investigation

In addition to the monetary damages sought, the lawsuit — which cites “negligence, defamation per se, insulting words, and civil conspiracy” — seeks to compel Twitter to reveal the names of the people behind the accounts “Devin Nunes’ Mom,” “Devin Nunes’ cow,” “Fire Devin Nunes” and “Devin Nunes Grapes,” and to permanently suspend a number of users whose posts “contain false and defamatory statements.”

Nunes’ personal attorney, Steven S. Biss, tells Fox News, “Twitter is a machine. It is a modern-day Tammany Hall. Congressman Nunes intends to hold Twitter fully accountable for its abusive behavior and misconduct.”

Services like Twitter are usually legally exempt from defamation liability suits, but Nunes’ team says, “Twitter is ‘responsible’ for the development of offensive content on its platform because it in some way specifically encourages development of what is offensive about the content.”

Also Read: Let’s Call Devin Nunes’ ‘Secret Memo’ What It Is: A Press Release

Testifying before Congress in September, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reiterated that Twitter doesn’t make decisions based on “political ideology,” adding that it wouldn’t make business sense for Twitter to dump large groups of Republicans, and calling the platform a new-age “public square” where almost anything should be allowed to be said.

Nunes’ complaint says the user called “Davin Nunes’ Mom,” used his name, falsely impersonated his mother, and created the account solely to defame him “with Twitter’s consent.”

That account has since been suspended, but the lawsuit includes screenshots of tweets, including a lewd drawing of President Vladimir Putin, President Trump and Nunes based on the film “Human Centipede.” According to the complaint, “Twitter did nothing to investigate or review the defamation that appeared in plain view on its platform” and has “consciously allowed the defamation of Nunes to continue.”

Also Read: Bill Maher Mocks Devin Nunes in ’25 Things You Didn’t Know About Me’ List

Accused of having “made unauthorized disclosures of classified information,” Nunes became a target of an ethics investigation in April 2017 and stepped aside from the House’s Russia probe.

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Trump Supports Covington Student’s $250 Million Lawsuit Against Washington Post

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President Trump tweeted his support on Wednesday for Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann’s $250 million defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post, blasting the paper as “fake news” while imploring the teenager to “go get them.”

Trump, directly quoting from Sandmann’s lawsuit, tweeted: “The Washington Post ignored basic journalistic standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump.”

“The Washington Post ignored basic journalistic standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump.” Covington student suing WAPO. Go get them Nick. Fake News!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2019

Sandmann was at the center of a media firestorm last month when a confrontation he had in Washington, D.C. with Nathan Phillips, a Native American veteran, went viral. Sandmann was roundly skewered for smirking in Phillips’ face while wearing a Make America Great Again hat, made popular by President Trump. Phillips was in Washington for the Indigenous People’s March while Sandmann and his classmates were in town for the March for Life.

Also Read: Donald Trump Jr Attacks Media for ‘Covington Catholic Hoax’ in First Breitbart Op-Ed

A much longer video of the incident later caused many to reconsider how they viewed the situation, though. A widely-shared article from Robby Soave at Reason.com indicated the students, rather than intentionally invading Phillips’ space, were approached by him as he was banging his drum. The two-hour long video, as Soave pointed out, also called into question whether the students chanted “build the wall,” as Phillips claimed, or said anything racist.

Sandmann’s lawsuit claims the Washington Post published “no less than six false and defamatory articles” about the incident, targeting him because he is a “white, Catholic student” that was wearing a MAGA hat.

On Jan. 22, the Washington Post published an interview in which Phillips said that some of the people associated with Sandmann chanted: “Build that wall, build that wall.” The Post noted that such chants were not audible in the clip and Phillips has denied such chants. And private investigators hired by the Covington Diocese in Kentucky later issued a report stating there was no evidence of the chants.

Also Read: Covington Student Refuses to Apologize After Viral Video: ‘I Was Not Disrespectful’ (Video)

The lawsuit is seeking the same amount of money Amazon chief Jeff Bezos paid for the paper in 2013. Bezos and the Post have routinely found themselves in the president’s crosshairs, with Trump recently mocking the tech exec’s divorce on Twitter.

The Post told TheWrap it is reviewing the lawsuit and plans to mount “a vigorous defense.”

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Drake Documentary Producers Accuse UMG of Trying to Suppress Film in New Lawsuit

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The producers of a documentary about music star Drake have filed a lawsuit against UMG Recordings, accusing UMG of “unlawful efforts to censor free speech through the intentional misuse of copyright law” and attempting to suppress the documentary.

In the lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court in California, production company Symettrica Entertainment says that its documentary, “Drake: Rewriting the Rules,” has been targeted by UMG via takedown notices sent to Netflix, iTunes and Amazon Prime Video, “unlawfully demanding that those platforms cease exhibiting the Documentary.”

“Coerced by Universal’s baseless blanket threats of liability, Netflix, iTunes and Amazon Prime Video have in fact removed the Documentary from their platforms as a matter of course,” the suit reads.

Also Read: Drake Says Vancouver Casino Racially Profiled Him, Prevented Him From Gambling

According to the suit, the takedown notices were sent “under the guise of alleged copyright infringement because the Documentary uses short clips of Drake’s music and videos.”

However, the suit contends, the brief excerpts of Drake’s music and videos were used “to illustrate points and commentary in the Documentary” and their use “clearly falls within the parameters of the fair use laws and constituted fair use.”

The real reason for the takedown notices, the suit contends, was “to silence and suppress viewpoints and speech in the Documentary with which Universal and/or Drake apparently disagree.”

Also Read: Drake Just Broke The Beatles’ Record for Most Top 10 Songs in a Year

“Universal’s censorious misuse of copyright law to subvert free speech has effectively removed the Documentary from meaningful public exhibition, causing substantial harm and damage to Plaintiff while further interfering with Plaintiff’s contractual rights and obligations,” the suit continues.

The suit goes on to accuse Universal of failing to undertake the “requisite good faith analysis of fair use before reflexively issuing bad-faith takedown notices strategically designed to suppress disfavored speech.”

According to the suit, the takedown notices were served last month, the day after the documentary was released on Netflix, iTunes and Amazon Prime Video.

Also Read: ‘Degrassi’ Star Daniel Clark Is ‘Upset’ He Wasn’t Invited for Drake’s ‘I’m Upset’ Music Video

TheWrap has reached out to a UMG spokesperson for comment on the suit.

Alleging misrepresentation and intentional interference with contractual relations, the suit is seeking a judicial declaration that the use of the excerpts constitutes fair use, as well as unspecified damages.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

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Vice Media Co-Founder Sues Southern Poverty Law Center, Accuses It of Defamation

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Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes filed legal suit against the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on Monday, accusing the organization of “defamation and other tortious acts resulting in reputational and economic damages,” according to a press release.

McInnes left Vice in 2008 over creative differences with fellow co-founders Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi. The company did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap.

“I, Gavin McInnes, formerly of every job I’ve ever had, am announcing, as of today, a lawsuit against the SPLC. They have harassed me, my family, and my friends to a level of tortious interference that goes well into sabotage,” the right-wing talk show host said in a statement, accompanying the suit.

Also Read: Vice Media to Lay Off 10 Percent of Staff in Company Restructuring

“The SPLC has gone from a noble institution genuinely dedicated to eradicating hate to a hate group in and of itself that pretends this country is frothing with bigots desperate to foment WW3,” he added.

The suit accuses the liberal watchdog group of using its influence to fuel calls to have him banned or “deplatformed” from websites like Twitter, Facebook and Paypal — thus hurting his ability to earn a living.

“SPLC’s campaign against Mr. McInnes is arguably the most successful employment of its system to personally destroy those it disagrees with, but who in fact is not an extremist, on ideological grounds,” it reads.

Also Read: YouTube Reinstates Gavin McInnes Just Days After Ban: ‘I’m Back, It Won’t Last’

McInnes accused SPLC of “using this incredible wealth to wield power over the innocent and destroy careers and businesses in their insatiable need to generate more bigots because, in the world of SPLC fundraising, mo hate is mo money.”

In a statement to TheWrap, SPLC Richard Cohen said his organization remained undeterred and called McInnes’s suit “meritless.”

“To paraphrase FDR, judge us by the enemies we’ve made. Gavin McInnes has a history of making inflammatory statements about Muslims, women, and the transgender community,” Cohen said. “The fact that he’s upset with SPLC tells us that we’re doing our job exposing hate and extremism. His case is meritless.”

Also Read: YouTube Kicks off Proud Boys Founder Gavin McInnes

The SPLC is most well-known for their list of U.S. “hate groups” which is extensively cited by domestic U.S news organizations. The group had long accused McInnes and his “Proud Boys” of being extremists and point to members who participated in the Unite The Right protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, as proof.

Despite its storied history of fighting discrimination during the Civil Rights era, the organization has become a polarizing force in recent years, as critics like McInnes argue it presents an unfair portrait of domestic extremist organizations.

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Author of Retracted Telegraph Article About Melania Trump Accuses Paper of Defamation

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The writer of a retracted Telegraph article is threatening the U.K. newspaper with a defamation lawsuit over an apology it issued to Melania Trump.

In a legal letter posted to her website, Nina Burleigh defended her piece and said the apology from the paper was offered without her knowledge and was defamatory.

“Your Apology traduces Ms Burleigh’s reputation as a competent journalist by asserting that many of the statements in the Article and by extension in the Book from which the Article was derived, both authored by her, are false,” the letter reads.

Also Read: UK’s Telegraph to Pay ‘Substantial Damages’ to Melania Trump Over ‘False Statements’ in Recent Story

“In fact, it is [Telegraph Media Group’s] Apology that is false. It appears that fear of Mrs. Trump’s lawyer Mr Harder, the “Gawker slayer,” caused TMG to capitulate abjectly in the face of his letter without regard to normal journalistic principles, at the cost of Ms Burleigh’s personal and professional reputation.”

“The following statements in the Apology are defamatory of Ms Burleigh,” it adds, citing their specific objections.

The letter signed by the international law firm McAllister Olivarius goes on to list a series of compensatory demands from  Burleigh necessary to redress the situation, including the retraction of the apology to Melania Trump, the issuance of a new apology to Burleigh, compensation for “damages,” and the payment of all of Burleigh’s legal costs.

Also Read: Melania Trump Admits She Wore ‘I Really Don’t Care’ Jacket to Annoy ‘Left-Wing Media’

The note was addressed to Telegraph editor Chris Evans and gives the paper until February 1 to answer. Evans did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap Thursday morning.

The dispute arose after the paper offered a lengthy apology for Burleigh’s article “The Mystery of Melania,” which ran as a Telegraph magazine cover feature in January. The piece was adapted from Burleigh’s book “Golden Handcuffs: The Secret History of Trump’s Women.”

In their public apology, the Telegraph said they had agreed to pay out “substantial damages” to the first lady over various “false statements” within the piece.

“We apologize unreservedly to The First Lady and her family for any embarrassment caused by our publication of these allegations,” the newspaper published Saturday. “As a mark of our regret we have agreed to pay Mrs. Trump substantial damages as well as her legal costs.”

Also Read: Melania Trump Shrugs Off Husband’s Alleged Affairs: ‘I Have Much More Important Things to Think About’ (Video)

It wasn’t the first time the first lady had sent her lawyers after media companies after publishing critical news articles. In 2017, the Daily Mail paid nearly $3 million in a settlement to Trump and apologized over a piece which raised questions about her modeling career in the 1990s, CNN reported.

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Gwyneth Paltrow Sued for $3.1 Million Over ‘Hit-and-Run’ Ski Crash

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Gwyneth Paltrow is being sued for more than $3 million after being accused of committing a “hit-and-run ski crash” that left a man seriously injured, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Utah.

Terry Sanderson is suing the Oscar winner for knocking him out after she was”skiing out of control” and ran into him from behind during a February 2016 trip to the Deer Valley Ski Resort in Park City, Utah. Making matters worse, Paltrow not only failed to help but “got up, turned and skied away, leaving Sanderson stunned, lying in the snow, seriously injured,” according to his lawsuit.

Eric Christiansen, Paltrow’s Deer Valley ski instructor, also declined to help Sanderson and blamed the crash on him, the lawsuit claimed. Sanderson suffered four broken ribs, “permanent traumatic brain injury” and emotional distress from the collision, according to his lawsuit. Sanderson, a retired 72-year-old optometrist, is seeking $3.1 million in damages.

Also Read: When Gwyneth Paltrow, Blythe Danner and a Drunk Christopher Walken Starred in ‘The Sea Gull’ (Podcast)

A rep for Paltrow did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. Paltrow’s company Goop said in a statement to CBS that the lawsuit is “completely without merit” and that “anyone who reads the facts will realize that.”

The lawsuit claims Paltrow was “skiing too fast for her ability on a beginner run” when she ran into Sanderson, who was nearing the end of the slope.

In a taped interview shared by one of Sanderson’s lawyers at a Tuesday press conference, Craig Ramon, who had joined Sanderson on his ski trip, said he heard a “a yell” right as Paltrow ran into Sanderson. “They looked like one person basically going down,”Ramon said. “She lands right on top of him and then she slides off to the side.”

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report. 

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’13 Reasons Why’ Author Files Defamation Lawsuit Against Writers’ Group After Misconduct Accusation

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“13 Reasons Why” author Jay Asher has filed a lawsuit against the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the writers’ group’s executive director, Lin Oliver, for making what he says are false and defamatory statements about him that have damaged his reputation and career, after he was accused of sexual misconduct last year.

According to the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court last week and obtained by TheWrap, Oliver issued a statement to the Associated Press last February that said the organization conducted an “investigation” and that Asher was “found to have violated the SCBWI code of conduct in regard to harassment.” The suit says those statements were false and Asher is seeking monetary damages for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Butaccording to Asher’s suit, the SCBWI did not conduct an investigation, and the author did not violate the SCBWI code of conduct.

Also Read: ’13 Reasons Why’ Author Jay Asher ‘Was Not Involved’ in Season 2, Netflix Says

“The executive director of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators made reckless and false statements about me to the news media, greatly harming my family, career, and reputation,” Asher said in a statement to TheWrap Friday. “I do not condone harassment of any sort, and have spent my entire career standing up for its victims, so these statements were devastating. Today, I filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles to set the record straight. Ms. Oliver’s statements were completely false and I look forward to proving that in court.”

SCBWI did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the lawsuit.

“SCBWI failed to conduct an investigation of any kind, and intentionally ignored evidence that would have shown Mr. Asher was completely innocent,” Patrick L. Fisher, Asher’s attorney, said in a statement. “Instead, SCBWI recklessly issued a false statement – in the heat of the ‘Me-Too’ movement – that unfairly damaged the reputation and career of one of the country’s most successful young adult authors. We look forward to presenting these facts to a jury.”

Also Read: ’13 Reasons Why’ Star Katherine Langford Joins ‘Avengers 4’ (Exclusive)

According to Asher’s lawsuit, Oliver received anonymous emails in April 2017 accusing Asher of using SCBWI conferences to entice women into physical relationships and then threatening them to remain silent. The suit says these accusations were false and that these relationships were voluntary — and sometimes started by the women. The suit asserts there was no harassment by Asher at any point in these relationships and that he did not offer to help any of them professionally.

Oliver discussed the accusations with Asher, according to the lawsuit, telling him she thought they were an attempt to ruin his reputation just as Netflix debuted its adaptation of his YA novel. Oliver took no action regarding the emails for over nine months after that and Asher voluntarily stopped attending SCBWI events, though he did renew his membership when it expired at Oliver’s suggestion, according to the court documents.

According to the suit, two women later contacted Oliver who said they were involved in the anonymous emails. One woman said she knew firsthand the accusations were false and the second woman contradicted the emails, but Oliver didn’t question them further, the filing states.

Also Read: ’13 Reasons Why’ Star Tommy Dorfman Joins Final Season of ‘Jane the Virgin’ (Exclusive)

Asher showed Oliver proof that the author of the email had been harassing him for over a decade and offered to put her in touch with someone who could support his story, but Oliver took no action, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states that Oliver then released the statement in February of last year, saying the organization had conducted an “investigation” and that Asher was “found to have violated the SCBWI code of conduct in regard to harassment.”

According to the suit, this caused Asher to suffer “injury to his personal, business, and professional reputation including suffering embarrassment, humiliation, severe emotional distress, shunning, anguish, fear, loss of employment.”

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Mr Skin Parent Company Sued Over Miley Cyrus Easter Bunny Spanking Photo

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The people behind celebrity nude-scene site Mr. Skin have been accused of nakedly filching other people’s material for their own gain.

SK Intertainment, the parent company of Mr. Skin, Egotastic, WWTDD and other websites was slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit alleging the wrongful use of a number of photos, including a photo of “Party in the USA” singer Miley Cyrus being spanked by the Easter Bunny.

In the suit, filed in federal court in California on Wednesday, photo agency Creative Photographers, Inc. [CPI] and photographic syndication company Lickerish allege that SK Intertainment infringed on the copyrights of a number of photos featuring Cyrus, Nicole Kidman and “Better Call Saul” star Rhea Seehorn.

Also Read: Miley Cyrus Spanked for Posting Racy Photo of Easter Bunny Smacking Her Behind

“Defendant Mr. Skin also owns and operates the website www.egotastic.com which is the ‘leading online celebrity and entertainment destination site for the male audience 18-49’ and specializes in celebrity gossip,” the suit reads. “On information and belief, the site also gets 10 million monthly unique visitors and features extensive advertising. Additionally, Mr. Skin owns and operates the website www.wwtdd.com which provides ‘salacious’ content and gossip, mostly on celebrity women, and also features extensive advertising.”

The suit continues, “Defendants used the CPI Photos and the Lickerish Photos to drive interest to their subscription access website, www.mrskin.com, and to increase the potential for more subscriptions, as well as ad sales to both Mr.Skin.com, Egotastic.com, and wwtdd.com. Thus, Defendants acted with the purpose and goal of financial gain, despite being sophisticated parties, with full knowledge of the strictures of federal copyright law and the basic requirements for licensing the use of copyrighted content for commercial exploitation.”

The suit contends that that the defendants are well familiar with licensing requirements, given that they “are sophisticated parties who depend on the many licenses granted to them by major studios, including Universal and Fox, to publish and distribute nude or revealing clips of women from their films. “

Also Read: Miley Cyrus Lawsuit: Listen to the Jamaican Song ‘We Can’t Stop’ Is Accused of Copying

The lawsuit also cites reports that Mr. Skin has licensed the use of its trademark for the 2007 Seth Rogen-Katherine Heigl film “Knocked Up.”

“As such, Defendants fully expect users of its intellectual property to seek authorization from them when exploiting their intellectual property,” the suit reads. “As such, Defendants actions are particularly wanton, willful and in knowing disregard of Plaintiffs intellectual property rights. “

TheWrap has reached out to SK Intertainment for comment on the suit.

Also Read: Watch Miley Cyrus Sob Through Emotional Concession Speech After Trump Win (Video)

Exhibits for the suit cite multiple alleged infringements, in posts bearing titles such as “Nicole Kidman Sexy in the Water for Stellar” and “Miley Cyrus Spanked by Easter Bunn…ZZZZZ.”

The Cyrus picture was one of a number of photos taken of he singer taken by photographer Vijat Mohindra and published by Vogue last year, and which Creative says are in its library.

The suit is asking that the defendants be enjoined by the court from infringing on the plaintiffs’ copyrights, as well as unspecified damages.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

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Rihanna Sues Her Father Over Fenty Entertainment Company

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Well, this should make Father’s Day a bit awkward for the Fenty family this year.

“Umbrella” singer Rihanna — full name: Robyn Rihanna Fenty — filed a lawsuit against her father, Ronald Fenty, accused him of invasion of privacy — false light publicity, false advertising and other counts.

According to the suit, the elder Fenty and his business partner, Moses Joktan Perkins, have fraudulently misrepresented that their company, Fenty Entertainment, is affiliated with the singer in order to solicit millions of dollars from third parties.

Also Read: Rihanna Home Burglary Suspect Faces Up to 10 Years in Prison

“Seeking to trade on her hard-earned success and the recognition and goodwill associated with her last name and her Fenty brand of products, her father, Ronald Fenty (‘Mr. Fenty’), and his business partner, Moses Joktan Perkins (‘Mr. Perkins’), have egregiously and fraudulently misrepresented to third parties and the public that their company, Fenty Entertainment, LLC (the ‘Company’), is affiliated with Rihanna, and has the authority to act on her behalf. Mr. Fenty and Mr. Perkins have used these lies in a fraudulent effort to solicit millions of dollars from unsuspecting third parties in exchange for the false promise that they were authorized to act on Rihanna’s behalf, and/or that Rihanna would perform at various locations throughout the world,” the lawsuit, filed in federal court in California, reads.

“Although Mr. Fenty is Rihanna’s father, he does not have, and never has had, authority to act on Rihanna’s behalf, nor has he ever been authorized to use her name, intellectual property or publicity rights. Similarly, neither Mr. Perkins nor the Company has any affiliation whatsoever with Rihanna, and absolutely no authority to act on Rihanna’s behalf or to use her name, intellectual property or publicity rights,” the complaint continues.

According to the suit, Fenty and Perkins formed the company in 2017, and Fenty Entertainment presents itself as a “full-fledged production and talent development company that utilizes today’s most cutting-edge digital technologies to create customized user experiences between talent and the fans.” The suit adds that a press release previously stated, falsely, that “Ronald Fenty, father of superstar recording artist Rihanna, today announced the launch of Fenty Entertainment with his daughter Robyn ‘Rihanna’ Fenty.”

Also Read: Rihanna Stalker Case: Man Charged With Breaking Into Singer’s Home

The suit says that the defendants have repeatedly been told “to stop making these misrepresentations, and to cease and desist all activity and efforts to exploit Rihanna’s name and the goodwill associated with the Fenty brand.”

According to the suit, in one instance, SBS Entertainment, relying on the alleged misrepresentation, offered the defendants an exclusive deal for Rihanna to perform a string of shows in Latin America for $15 million, plus two 15-minute sets elsewhere for $400,000.

“In order to further this fraudulent business transaction, Defendants falsely represented to SBS Entertainment that Rihanna had discussed the deal with Mr. Perkins and Mr. Fenty, ‘loved the idea,’ and ‘approved’ further discussions between the Company and SBS Entertainment to get the deal signed off,” the suit reads.

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TheWrap has reached out to Fenty Entertainment for comment on the suit, which is asking that the defendants “be permanently enjoined from continuing the wrongful conduct alleged herein,” and is seeking unspecified damages.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

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Netflix Sued Over ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch,’ Accused of Infringing ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Trademark

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

A children’s book publisher is suing Netflix for trademark infringement over the use of “Choose Your Own Adventure” in its “Black Mirror” film, “Bandersnatch.”

According to lawsuit filed in Vermont, Chooseco, LLC, which has published numerous “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style books, claims it has held the trademark for “Choose Your Own Adventure” since the 1980s.

A representative Netflix declined to comment when contacted by TheWrap.

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Chooseco is claiming that the phrase has been used in the marketing of film. Chooseco’s main argument, since Netflix didn’t use the words “Choose Your Own Adventure” as part of the film’s name, comes in the first part of the movie, when Stefan (Fionn Whitehead) explains to his dad that the “Bandersnatch” game he’s developing is based on a fictional book, which he described as a “choose your own adventure book.”

“Netflix has no license or authorization to use Chooseco’s trademark and, upon information and belief, used the mark willfully and intentionally to capitalize on viewers’ nostalgia for the original book series from the 1980s and 1990s,” the company said in the lawsuit. “The film’s dark and, at times, disturbing content dilutes the goodwill for and positive associations with Chooseco’ s mark and tarnishes its products.”

Chooseco added that in 2016, the company and Netflix engaged in “extensive negotiations” for a license to use the phrase, but that Netflix never received one from them.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this story

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Showtime, Andrew Ross Sorkin Hit With Lawsuit Over ‘Billions’ Character

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Showtime Networks and the creators of the series “Billions” were sued Monday by Denise Shull, an author and Wall Street performance coach who says that the Wendy Rhoades character from the series is a rip-off of her work.

In her suit, filed in federal court in New York, Denise Shull, described in the suit as “an expert in neuroeconomics, modern psychoanalysis and neuropsychoanalysis,” says that the Rhoades character, portrayed by Maggie Siff, infringes on her 2012 book “Market Mind Games.” According to the complaint, in the book, Shull “created a fictionalized retelling of her experiences and observations in the form of an in-house female performance coach for a hedge fund.”

“Defendants promote themselves as the creators, writers, and producers of the television series ‘Billions,’ which includes the pivotal character of Dr. Wendy Rhoades, a female, in-house performance coach for a hedge fund. Dr. Rhoades is known for her unique technique, as expressed in multiple episodes of the series, which combines the psychology of trading and risk, based largely on recognizing and using emotions as part of the risk calculus,” the suit reads. “Dr. Rhoades’ technique is not a fiction created out of the minds of the showrunners and writers of ‘Billions.’ Rather, it is an unauthorized rip-off of Plaintiff Ms. Shull’s original work, the book ‘Market Mind Games: A Radical Psychology of Investing, Trading, and Risk.’”

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According to the suit, Andrew Ross Sorkin, one of the creators of “Billions” who is also named as a defendant in the suit, invited Shull on his show “Squawk Box” in 2012, and they discussed her book. Later, the suit says, Sorkin requested Shull’s assistance with the Rhoades character.

“On or about August 26, 2015, Defendant Sorkin emailed Ms. Shull about the series ‘Billions’ and requested her assistance with the development of the female lead character, Dr. Wendy Rhoades, a female hedge fund performance coach who helps financial professionals improve their performance by dealing with their own emotional baggage,” the suit reads. “The following day, August 27, 2015, Defendant Sorkin sent to Maggie Siff an email introducing Ms. Shull as ‘one of the leading hedge fund performance coaches in the country.’ Ms. Siff was cast to play the role of Dr. Wendy Rhoades in ‘Billions.’”

A spokesperson for Showtime declined comment on the suit, which seeks unspecified damages.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

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Bruce Weber Sued by 5 Male Models Who Accuse Him of Molestation During ‘Breathing Exercise’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Five male models filed a lawsuit Friday accusing photographer Bruce Weber of sex trafficking and molesting them under the promise of helping their careers.

Attorney Lisa Bloom, who filed a sexual harassment case against Weber a year ago on behalf of model Jason Boyce, is also representing the plaintiffs in the new lawsuit.

Jayne Weintraub, an attorney for Weber, called the accusations “outrageous.”

“Bruce Weber has never lured, recruited, or forced anyone to do anything  and has never inappropriately touched a model,” Weintraub said.

Also Read: Fashion Photographer Bruce Weber ‘Unequivocally’ Denies Sexual Harassment Accusations

“This lawsuit is nothing more than a media-hungry lawyer’s attempt to extort Mr. Weber with false, fictitious and legally frivolous claims,” Weintraub added. “We are confident that Mr. Weber will prevail against these false allegations; not just with words, but with evidence in a court of law.”

Bloom said the five new plaintiffs all had “strikingly similar allegations against Mr. Weber.”

“The new case was filed under the federal sex trafficking law, which has recently been interpreted to prohibit ‘casting couch’ behavior in which a powerful person sexually exploits a vulnerable job applicant for his own sexual gratification.”

She said the law has a 10-year statute of limitations, if other victims want to come forward.

The lawsuit said Weber used a “breathing exercise” to facilitate touching. It said he would touch their genitals under the pretext of the exercise.

Weber’s work has appeared in Vanity Fair, American Vogue, Interview, Italian Vogue, French Vogue and GQ, as well as London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in Paris.

See Video: Ex-Model and Bruce Weber Accuser Jason Boyce: Some Days ‘I Sit in My Car and Cry’

Boyce filed a lawsuit in December 2017 against Weber, saying that the photographer pressured him to take off his clothes and touch his genitals. Boyce “suffered humiliation, emotional anguish and lost economic opportunities, including the end of his modeling career in New York,” the suit says.

Weber used Instagram to “unequivocally” deny Boyce’s accusations.

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Harvey Weinstein Criminal Trial to Move Forward After Judge Denies Dismissal

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

A sexual assault case against Harvey Weinstein will still go to trial after New York judge James Burke shot down an attempt by Weinstein’s lawyers to have the case dismissed on Thursday, according to ABC News.
It clears the way for prosectors to …

‘Fresh Prince’ Star Alfonso Ribeiro Says Fortnite, NBA 2K Makers Ripped off His Carlton Dance in New Lawsuits

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Alfonso Ribeiro is taking his fancy footwork to the courtroom.

Ribeiro, who played Carlton Banks on the sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” has filed lawsuits against the companies behind the video games Fortnite Battle Royale and the NBA 2K games, accusing them of lifting the dance, often referred to as the Carlton Dance, that he popularized on the series.

In a lawsuit filed against Epic Games in federal court in California on Monday, Ribeiro contends, “Through its unauthorized use of Ribeiro’s highly popular signature dance (‘The Dance’ or ‘Dance’) in its smash-hit, violent video game, Fortnite Battle Royale (‘Fortnite’), Epic has unfairly profited from exploiting Ribeiro’s protected creative expression and likeness and celebrity without his consent or authorization.”

Also Read: Original ‘Fresh Prince’ Aunt Viv Blasts ‘Media Hoe’ Alfonso Ribeiro Over Reunion Snub

According to the suit, Ribeiro created the dance in 1991 and first performed it in the “Fresh Prince” episode “Will’s Christmas Show,” and that more than two decades later, the dance “remains distinctive, immediately recognizable, and inextricably linked to Ribeiro’s identity, celebrity, and likeness.”

The suit says that Epic infringed on Ribeiro’s dance by selling it as an in-game purchase in Fortnite under the name “Fresh,” which players can buy to customize their avatars for use in the game.

Also Read: Justin Timberlake, Alfonso Ribeiro Bust Out the ‘Fresh Prince’ Carlton Dance on Golf Course (Video)

“Epic did not seek, much less obtain, Ribeiro’s consent to use, display, reproduce, sell, or creative [sic] a derivate work based upon The Dance or Ribeiro’s likeness,” the suit, which alleges copyright infringement, unfair advantage and other counts, reads.

Ribeiro is asking for a restraining order against Epic barring them from using the dance, as well as unspecified damages.

On Monday, Ribeiro also filed a similar lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive, 2K Sports and 2K Games, making similar accusations in regard to the NBA 2K line of games.

Also Read: ‘Fortnite: Battle Royale’ Just Made $318 Million in a Single Month

TheWrap has reached out to Epic, Take-Two and 2K for comment on the lawsuits.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

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Harvey Weinstein Accused of Forcibly Performing Oral Sex on Woman in New Lawsuit

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Harvey Weinstein’s legal entanglements grew this week, as the disgraced film mogul was sued by a woman who said Weinstein masturbated in front of her while she was using the bathroom and ejaculated onto her skirt, and, in another instance, “forcibly performed oral sex” on her.

The suit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, says that the Jane Doe plaintiff first met Weinstein in January 2013 during the Sundance Film Festival, where she gave him her card in case there were opportunities for auditions.

The next day, the suit says, Weinstein invited her to his hotel suite, ostensibly to discuss a potential film. According to the suit, the plaintiff went to the restroom during the meeting and, while she was sitting on the toilet with her tights around her ankles, Weinstein walked in on her, unbuttoned his jeans, dropped his pants and “exposed his penis while telling her, ‘I like looking at you,’ ‘My d— is nice and hard for you’ and asking, ‘Do you like my d—?’ and instructing her ‘Let me look at you.’”

Also Read: Harvey Weinstein Email Leaked: ‘I’ve Had the Worst Nightmare of My Life’

According to the suit, she replied “no,” but Weinstein moved closer to her while masturbating, and says eventually Weinstein “ejaculated directly onto her skirt.”

The suit alleges other incidents. During another instance, the suit says, when they went to Weinstein’s office ostensibly so Weinstein could give her a copy of a script for a film “Vampire Academy,” Weinstein pushed her down and “forcibly performed oral sex” on the plaintiff, who began “audibly sobbing.”

According to the suit, the woman later confronted Weinstein, and he told her, “Don’t be such a prude. I didn’t even f— you.” After which, the suit says, Weinstein grabbed her from behind, began talking dirty to her in front of a mirror “and began masturbating while restraining her movement. When she began sobbing, he became agitated and annoyed and stormed away.”

Also Read: Paz de la Huerta Files Sexual Battery Lawsuit Against Harvey Weinstein

The suit further alleges that Weinstein and The Weinstein Company, also named in the suit, “made misrepresentations to Plaintiff to guarantee her silence about Weinstein’s unlawful conduct, and to create a paper-trail of communications between the two to prevent Plaintiff from reporting his conduct or instituting legal proceedings.”

It also alleges that Weinstein and TWC “would only have fulfilled their promises of casting Plaintiff in TWC films if Plaintiff had sex with Weinstein. Because she would not consent, Weinstein and TWC strung her along, through a carefully orchestrated series of misrepresentations, to prevent her from reporting him and instituting legal proceedings.”

TheWrap has reached out to representatives for Weinstein’s attorney and The Weinstein Company for comment on the suit, which alleges assault, sexual battery, discrimination and harassment and other counts, and seeks unspecified damages. The reps did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Also Read: Woman Says Weinstein Sexually Assaulted Her When She Was 16

Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct by numerous women and has denied the accusations. He’s awaiting trial on multiple felony charges in New York stemming from accusations of sexual misconduct.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

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Morgan Spurlock’s Company to Pay $1 Million-Plus in Lawsuit Over Halted Project

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock’s company Warrior Poets will pay more than a million dollars in a lawsuit filed against him by Turner Entertainment Networks, according to court papers obtained by TheWrap.

According to a filing in federal court in California on Tuesday, Spurlock and his company Warrior Poets will pony up nearly $1.2 million in the legal action.

“The parties, Warrior Poets (‘Defendant’) and Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc. (‘Plaintiff’), have agreed to entry of this Final Judgment finally disposing of this action,” Tuesday’s filing notes.

“Judgment is entered for Plaintiff and against Defendant on all claims in the amount of $1,173,707,” the paperwork reads.

Also Read: Morgan Spurlock Sued Over Halted Project About Women’s Issues

“The Parties waive any right to appeal,” the filing adds.

Spurlock was sued by Turner in March, after Spurlock’s late-2017 admission that he had engaged in sexual misconduct. Turner alleged that a project about women’s issues was halted after the admission.

In the suit, Turner said that it entered into a production services agreement with Spurlock’s production company Warrior Poets — also named as a defendant in the suit — for a project titled “Who Rules the World?” The project was described in the suit as “a series focused on issues facing women.”

Also Read: Morgan Spurlock Steps Down From His Production Company After Sexual Misconduct Admission

However, the suit said, things went south in December 2017 when Spurlock “issued a public statement in which he confessed to sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, and substance abuse and stepped down from his position at Warrior Poets.” The project was halted, according to the complaint, and “[c]ritical partners involved in the Project severed their relationship with Spurlock and Warrior Poets.”

The suit said that the agreement called for funds for the project provided by Turner Entertainment Networks to be placed in a special bank account to be used solely for the project, and that Turner’s “repeated efforts to obtain the funds from Defendants have been met with radio silence.”

Alleging breach of written contract, the suit sought an order preventing the funds from being used for anything else, and ultimately for the funds to be returned to Turner.

Also Read: Morgan Spurlock Recalls Accuser From His College Days: ‘She Believed She Was Raped’

TheWrap has reached out to comment from an attorney for Spurlock and a spokesperson for Turner seeking comment on Tuesday’s filing.

In December, Spurlock took to Twitter to divulge that he’d been accused of rape and to declare, “I’m part of the problem.”

In a lengthy post, the “Super Size Me” director wrote, “She believed she was raped.”

“As I sit around watching hero after hero, man after man, fall at the realization of their past indiscretions, I don’t sit by and wonder ‘who will be next?’ I wonder, ‘when will they come for me?’” Spurlock wrote, recalling an incident when he was in college.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

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Netflix Punches Back In Legal Fight With Viacom Over Exec Poaching

Read on: Deadline.

Netflix has responded to Viacom’s lawsuit claiming the streaming service poached a senior executive (a case mirroring a separate dust-up with Fox), saying the employment contract it allegedly breached is illegal and unenforceable.
Viacom’s …

Joe Arpaio Files Defamation Lawsuit Against CNN, Rolling Stone and Huffington Post Over Criminal Record Reports

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Joe Arpaio will not stand idly by as the media paints him as a felon.

Former Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff and Senate candidate Arpaio has filed a lawsuit against CNN, Rolling Stone and Huffington Post, accusing the outlets of falsely portraying his criminal record.

The suit, which was filed in federal court in the District of Columbia on Monday and alleges defamation and false light, states that Arpaio “has been the target of three separate defamatory publications that falsely refer to and defamed him per se as a convicted felon.”

Also Read: New York Times Slapped With Lawsuit From Sheriff Joe Arpaio

In one instance according to the suit, in January 2018, CNN personality Chris Cuomo “falsely and with reckless disregard for the truth stated that Plaintiff Arpaio was a ‘convicted felon’ … Plaintiff Arpaio has never been convicted of a felony.”

In a second instance, according to the suit, HuffPo published a November 2018 article falsely claimed that Arpaio had been “sent to prison for contempt of court … Plaintiff Arpaio has never been sent to prison for contempt of court.”

The suit also takes aim at Rolling Stone, saying that a Nov. 13, 2018 article falsely referred to Arpaio as an “ex-felon,” while, according to the suit, Arpaio “has never been convicted of a felony.”

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The suit says that the Rolling Stone article was later, and silently, changed to say that “Arpaio was convicted of contempt of court, a misdemeanor, in 2017 and pardoned by Trump less than one month later.” However, the suit adds, “there is no indication on the Rolling Stone Article that a mistake had previously been made in referring to Plaintiff Arpaio as an ‘ex-felon.’”

A spokesperson for CNN told TheWrap on Tuesday that the outlet has no comment on the suit. TheWrap has reached out to a representative for Huffington Post and attempted to reach out to a representative for Roling Stone for comment on the suit.

“Plaintiff Arpaio’s distinguished 55-year law enforcement and political career has been severely harmed, as his reputation has been severely damaged among and with the Republican establishment, which is centered in the District of Columbia. The false publications alleged herein all occurred in this district and are continuing,” the suit reads, adding that the reports have “severely harmed” Arpaio’s prospects of election to the U.S. Senate in 2020.

Also Read: John Oliver Rips Trump’s Pardon of Joe Arpaio: ‘A Slap in the Face’ (Video)

The suit seeks “actual, compensatory, and punitive damages in excess of $300,500,000, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs, and any other relief that this Court may deem just and proper.”

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Tara Reid Files $100 Million Suit Over ‘Sharknado’ Slot Machines

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Tara Reid has filed a $100 million over use of her face on slot machines promoting the Syfy “Sharknado” film series.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in California, Reid is accusing Syfy and “Sharknado’s” producers of using her likeness on slot machines without her consent.

The suit points to Reid’s contract for the sixth “Sharknado” film, which states that “in no event shall [Reid’s] likeness be used for any merchandising in association with alcohol, tobacco, gambling, hygiene, or sexual products without [Reid’s] prior written approval.”

Also Read: James Corden’s ‘Shaqnado’ Is Somehow Worse Than ‘Sharknado’ (Video)

The suit continues that Reid gave no such permission to her face on those slot machines. It goes even further, stating that the defendants never even asked for her permission.

However, the Dec. 6 filing listed Asylum Entertainment LLC as one of the defendants, which is a different company from the actual producer of the “Sharknado” films, The Asylum.

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A representative for Syfy and The Asylum did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Reid has starred as April Wexler, and along with Ian Ziering, has appeared in all six “Sharknado” films that have aired yearly on Syfy since 2013. The most recent film, “The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time,” premiered on Aug. 19.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

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Playboy.com Sued by Blind Man Who Says He Can’t Fully ‘Enjoy’ the Website

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Apparently, some people really do read Playboy for the articles. Or at least try to.

Playboy.com was sued Wednesday by a legally blind man who says that the site, as well as Playboyshop.com, aren’t equally accessible to the blind and visually impaired.

In the class-action suit, filed Wednesday in federal court in New York, Donald Nixon says that he and other visually-impaired customers are unable to “fully and equally use or enjoy” the site’s offering. And that definitely goes on the Turn-Offs list.

Also Read: Ex-Playboy Playmate Leaps to Her Death With 7-Year-Old Son

“Due to the inaccessibility of Defendant’s Website, blind and visually-impaired customers such as Plaintiff, who need screen-readers, cannot fully and equally use or enjoy the facilities, products, and services Defendant offers to the public on its Website,” the suit reads. “The access barriers Plaintiff encountered have caused a denial of Plaintiff’s full and equal access in the past, and now deter Plaintiff on a regular basis from visiting the Website, presently and in the future.”

According to the suit, Nixon employs screen-reading software to access the internet. During his visits to the site, the lawsuit says, Nixon “encountered multiple access barriers” that “denied Plaintiff full and equal access to the facilities, goods and services offered to the public and made available to the public; and that denied Plaintiff the full enjoyment of the facilities, goods and services of the Website, by being unable to learn more information, the ability to browse products available for delivery, find information on promotions and coupons, and related goods and services available online.”

TheWrap has reached out to a Playboy spokesperson for comment on the suit, which accused the company of violating the Americans With Disabilities Act, among other counts.

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Along with unspecified damages, the suit wants Playboy.com to change its procedures so that it’s equally accessible to the sight-impaired.

“Because Defendant’s website, www.playboy.com and www.playboyshop.com (the ‘Website’ or ‘Defendant’s website’), is not equally accessible to blind and visually-impaired consumers, it violates the ADA,” the suit reads. “Plaintiff seeks a permanent injunction to cause a change in Defendant’s corporate policies, practices, and procedures so that Defendant’s website will become and remain accessible to blind and visually-impaired consumers.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

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