Legal Drama

ASA SUES! Who You Calling Gay??!! Who You Calling a Lesbian? Don’t Jail Me!

Folks I wish I could get into Nigeria’s Tort Law and statutes specific to  defamation claims. But, my time is even more limited these days than ever before so I have to be super stingy with it. Suffice it to say, once time permits I will discuss, briefly, some of the nuanced differences and similarities between US and Nigerian Tort laws specific to defamation.

Nigeria’s global buzz raising singer, Asa, sues a Nigerian publication for printing a story saying she was a Lesbian. She essentially is saying, “Don’t jail me!” “Don’t try to confine me into your little boxes you small minded thinking people.”

Read an excerpt of the coverage of the current case filed by Asa from TheNetng.com.

“Asa did not show up in court as she’s away in France. She was represented by her Lawyer who told the court she’s ‘indisposed’. The publisher of News of the People Loye Hamzat was personally in court.

Apparently, the musician is suing a Lagos-based celebrity magazine ‘News of the People’ for a published article alleging she’s a lesbian. We’re told this case has been on for sometime, and is now nearing conclusion. The case has been adjourned till April 26, 2012 when Asa is expected to be present in court.  . .” – The Net Ng.com

LET’S VISIT THE USA FOR A MINUTE
Six states now permit gay marriage in the USA. On a federal level, the Obama Administration and Eric Holder, Attorney General, have said they can no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act. In the state where I practice law, California, Proposition 8 (which would essentially eliminate the privilege (no rights on a federal level) of gays to marry) has been defeated. For legal colleagues reading this, proponents of Proposition 8 have petitioned the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, this week, for a rehearing en banc on grounds that the court’s ruling is contrary to Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit precedent on this issue.

LET’S RETURN TO NIGERIA
In contrast to the USA, a bill went before the senate floor in Nigeria late last year and the message was resoundingly clear. No gay marriage. No gay marriage supported activities. No gay sexual relations. All aforementioned acts carry jail/prison sentence(s) ranging from 10-14years.

Now back to the USA. Despite the seeming progress the USA has made when it comes to legal issues that affect the gay community, it remains uncool to call someone “gay,” especially when they are not. There is still stigma (spoken and unspoken), among other things, associated with being labeled gay. It is indeed why ex-wrestler Hulk Hogan filed suit against his wife last year claiming her statements that he was gay was false, defamatory and injurious to his reputation.

If Hulk Hogan in a so called advanced and progressive nation like the USA can file a lawsuit becasue he is called “gay”, please believe singer Asa, in Nigeria’s society, can and should also file a lawsuit where she is tagged “lesbian,” and she maintains vehemently that she is not.

AS AN ASIDE: I feel sad for the kids in grade and high school who will be teased and taunted mercilessly because they are different and hope Asa’s suit, at a minimum, serves as a deterrence that you cannot just bully people and expect to get away with it.

Asa is not your typical singer. While she has stepped up her fashion game, for the most part, her look says she could care less about her packaging i.e. her fashion and style sense communicated to the public. From a branding perspective, this could cut both ways i.e. good and bad. In her case, it has hurt her. The public and media have made conclusions about her and now she is fighting to ensure they do not compromise her safety and destroy her livelihood.

Read my coverage of Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit below that has a parallel reasoning of how things shake out. It references the Shirley Sherrod case. Should time permit, before or at the time of the actual verdict, I should at least touch on Asa’s matter again. If not, remind me to do so.

Cheers,
Uduak

ASA’S SONG – JAILER

ASA’s EPK

Gone are the days where celebrity couples divorce, write a tell-all book and keep it moving. Okay, not exactly. There have and will always be lawsuits where celebrities are concerned. Hulk Hogan has filed a recent lawsuit against his ex-wife and boy is he angry! According to news reports including the one below, several things infuriating the former wrestler are allegations of him abusing his ex-wife and having homosexual relationships while married to her. Hulk Hogan says these allegations are absolutely false and wants his name cleared.

I have covered defamation where public figures and celebrities are concerned. I invite you to visit the Shirley Sherrod case where a parallel analysis on defamation takes place. In this case, we take the question of defamation a step further and ask, “does the defamation analysis change where one famous person sues another?”

The straightforward answer? No it does not.

As an aside, I remain, on a personal level, deeply intrigued on how two people can fall deeply in love and the next minute, they are at each others throats. While this case is not in the family law arena, I certainly applaud my family law practitioner colleagues who deal daily with . . .

“Whatcha gonna do when your ex-wife writes stuff you consider defamatory?

Sue, brother!

Wrestler Hulk Hogan has filed a lawsuit against former spouse Linda Bollea, claiming she lied and defamed him in her new autobiography.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, the lawsuit alleges that Linda wrote Wrestling the Hulk—My Life Against the Ropes in an effort to revive her career.

In the book, Linda accuses Hogan (real name Terry Bollea), of abusing her during their marriage, which ended in 2009. She also claims that her ex had homosexual encounters as well.

The 18-page lawsuit states that such allegations are not only false but have “harmed the reputation of Mr. Bollea, exposed him to distrust, hatred, contempt and ridicule.”

EOnline.com has the full story. . .

Photo: Hulk Hogan’s Facebook fan page

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ABOUT THE FOUNDER

Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at https://msuduak.com.

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