Former SPLA chief of staff warns South Sudan leader against defamation
June 3, 2018 (JUBA) – Ex SPLA chief of staff warned South Sudan president against insult and exposure of classified information, threatening to retaliate if he and his aides continue to damage his reputation.
“This is to inform President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his men, especially his Press Secretary Ateny Wek Ateny that they should cease from hurling insults at me and exposure of what they called sensitive and classified information to the public about the state matters and any other matter deemed so,” said Paul Malong in a statement released on Sunday.
Last week, President Kiir said opposed to the participation of the Awan-led South Sudan United Front (SSUF) claiming that his former close friend was opposed to the peace agreement.
In return, Awan disclosed that in their meetings it was Kiir who was not refusing to sign the peace agreement. He added the president was backed by his information minister Michael Makuei Lueth.
Since, people circulated a message from Kiir’s spokesperson, Ateny to a friend where he describes Awan as a corrupt man and pointed to the stepson of Gen Paul Malong, Lawrence Lual who is also known as the Young Tycoon.
Malong advised his former friend Kiir to direct his aides that ” their loose lips ought to be zipped or else they will be attracting serious retaliatory statements”.
He further said that if Kiir or his aides say anything in the future he would retaliate.
“Now that he is publicly exposing things he deemed classified, he ought to watch out that I will do the same to his satisfaction,” he stressed.
Awan was the SPLA chief of staff from 24 April 2014 to 9 May 2017. During these three years, he reorganized the army and recruited thousands of militiamen to defend the regime of President Salva Kiir.
However, he was accused by the security service of seeking to overthrow the president, a claim he denies.
Kesha vs. Dr. Luke: Inside Pop Music’s Contentious Legal Battle
For more than 18 months, a contract disagreement between the pop singer Kesha and her longtime producer Dr. Luke has been churning through courts in three states, raising complex questions for the music industry about gender, the control of an artist’s career, and the power of social media.
Since 2014, Kesha has been fighting to be released from her contracts with the megaproducer (known for his work with Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson and many more) and his label’s parent company, Sony Music Entertainment, asserting that Dr. Luke had subjected her to years of abuse, including rape, and unfair business arrangements. He has denied all the accusations.
While the various legal turns have prompted major pop artists, including Taylor Swift and Adele, to voice support for the #FreeKesha campaign on Twitter and Instagram, each shift in the narrative — including Kesha’s off-and-on-again performance at the Billboard Music Awards and the recent release of her first song since 2013 — adds another layer to the complicated, continuing civil case. (No criminal charges have been filed.)
Below is a close look at the dueling lawsuits and additional documents filed by both sides thus far, as well as a preview of what is still to come.
What is the professional history between Kesha and Dr. Luke?
In 2005, Kesha, whose full name is Kesha Rose Sebert, was a teenager and high school student living in Nashville, when Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald, better known as Dr. Luke, reached out after listening to her demo recordings. In September of that year, shortly after she turned 18, Kesha entered into a recording agreement with Dr. Luke’s production company, Kasz Money Inc. (KMI), according to court documents.
Under the terms of that deal, Kesha’s contract could be extended by KMI through her sixth album, with at least six songs on each album required to be produced by Dr. Luke. (The contract was amended in 2008 and 2009, when KMI negotiated a deal for Kesha with RCA Records, a division of Sony; Dr. Luke’s label, Kemosabe, formed in 2011, is also housed under Sony.)
According to her lawsuit, Kesha’s recording career stalled as the producer focused on “more high profile and lucrative” artists until 2008, when she contributed uncredited vocals to the rapper Flo Rida’s song “Right Round,” which became a No. 1 hit. Dr. Luke went on produce and write songs for Kesha’s 2010 debut album, “Animal,” as well as an EP from the same year, “Cannibal,” and her 2012 follow-up album, “Warrior.” Kesha, 29, also appeared on the Pitbull single “Timber” in 2013, which was produced in part by Dr. Luke.
Kesha’s career has been relatively quiet since — Dr. Luke cited creative differences between the two in a 2013 profile in The New Yorker — as she remains under contract with the producer’s companies. (She has recently performed live with a Nashville band called Yeast Infection, in addition to high-profile appearances at Coachella in April and at the Billboard Awards on Sunday, where she performed a cover of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me, Babe.”)
Dr. Luke continues to produce and co-write songs for Flo Rida, R. Kelly, Becky G and other artists.
What is Kesha asserting in her lawsuit?
According to a civil suit filed in Los Angeles in October 2014, Kesha says that her entire experience working with Dr. Luke was fraught with instances of sexual, physical, verbal and emotional abuse. The suit asserts that the abuse, which included constant insults about her appearance and weight, continued to the point that Kesha “nearly lost her life.” (After developing bulimia, she entered rehab in January 2014 and stayed for two months.)
Although Dr. Luke has never faced a criminal complaint from Kesha, much of the interest surrounding her case focuses on her allegations of sexual assault. She has cited Dr. Luke’s years of intimidation and his control over her career as the reasons she “never dared talk about, let alone report, what Dr. Luke had done to her.”
The Dubai Misdemeanours Court has dismissed defamation charges leveled against XPRESS editor Mazhar Farooqui by the CEO of a children’s talent hunt agency in the US.
On May 25 last year, XPRESS published a cover story following a police complaint filed by a Pakistani actress and TV presenter against the agency’s CEO, whom she accused of assaulting her teenage daughter during a casting session in Dubai the previous weekend.
The actress, who recounted her experience with XPRESS journalists who happened to be at the event, filed a complaint at the Al Barsha Police Station where the American producer was also summoned. In her complaint, she said her 14-year-old daughter was bruised and badly shaken. She even produced a medical report to support her claim. The actress later shared all the details with Farooqui at the Gulf News office.
Subsequently, however, a defamation case was filed against Farooqui, who was accused of shaming the producer by publishing details of his private life.
When questioned by police and prosecutors, Farooqui admitted to publishing the report and being present during the talent show. However, he maintained that the name of the producer and that of his company were never disclosed. His lawyer Saad Mohammad Salman argued that everything reported in the article was based on the police complaint and that the editor did not have any criminal intent in its publication. “My client was only doing his job and had not violated the law at any stage,” he said.
Presiding judge Ayman Mohammad Abdul Hakam acquitted Farooqui on the basis of insufficient and unsubstantiated evidence.
As Gulf News reported, the judge’s order said, “The abuse incident happened in a public place [hotel that hosted the talent show] and in front of an audience. It didn’t happen in a private or confidential place. Besides, the editor did not publish the claimant’s name or that of his company. The actress wanted to have the abuse incident published and so she visited the suspect [editor] at his workplace and provided him with all the required details and documents … her name and photos were published and she was seeking further fame.”
Sophie Mirabella defamation case costs Victorian newspaper almost $300,000
An article that defamed former federal MP Sophie Mirabella while she was campaigning for her old seat during the 2016 federal election is ultimately costing a weekly Victorian newspaper almost $300,000.
Victoria County court judge Michael Macnamara last week awarded Mirabella all her legal fees for her defamation lawsuit against weekly newspaper the Benalla Ensign, on top of $175,000 in damages she was awarded.
Her legal costs amount to $118,600, according to an order released on Tuesday detailing how much money the former Indi member spent on legal counsel for the preparation and duration of her six-day trial in Wangaratta.
The order also says Benalla Newspapers and former editor Libby Price must pay 3% interest on the $175,000 awarded to Mirabella to cover the time between when she launched the lawsuit and its final resolution. This means Mirabella will receive $180,758 in damages, plus $118,600 in legal costs.
The 49-year-old sued the newspaper and Price after it published an article, titled Awkward Encounter, that claimed she had pushed rival politician Cathy McGowan during a photo opportunity.
The article was published on 20 April 2016 before the 2 July election in which Mirabella hoped to win back the seat of Indi from McGowan.
Last Thursday, the county court in Melbourne was told the Ensign and Price had made an early offer of just $5,364 to settle the case, but how they came to that figure was never explained to Mirabella.
Mirabella’s legal team then tried to settle for $150,000 plus legal fees, but the newspaper and Price never responded to the offer.
In awarding indemnity costs, Judge Macnamara rejected the offer of “$5,000-odd” was reasonable.
Earlier in May, the judge awarded Mirabella $175,000 in damages after a six-person jury in Wangaratta found she had been defamed by the article.
Judge Macnamara found Mirabella was wrongly portrayed as carrying out the push and suffered damage to her reputation.
Diet Madison Avenue Goes Dark After News of Defamation Suit
Anonymous industry whistleblower account Diet Madison Avenue effectively disappeared last night, several hours after news of a civil defamation suit filed against the entity went live in the advertising trade press.
As of approximately 10 p.m. last night, its Instagram and Twitter accounts had been shut down, and its WordPress domain is now “parked.” Today, the Instagram account is private but seems to have been reset with no posts and no followers.
Before disappearing, the account posted an Instagram Story featuring what appeared to be an exchange of text messages between two individuals. It included accusations against an unnamed man as well as a message reading: “This is all we have to say about the news. We have always gained our courage by the brave ones who have openly and honestly come forward. We stand by them until the end. Above post is shared with permission.”
Yesterday, Adweek and several other trade publications reported that a lawyer representing former CP+B Chief Creative Officer Ralph Watson had filed suit accusing the DMA account, and two “Jane Does” allegedly associated with it, of defamation. Watson’s lawyer said he plans to subpoena the Facebook-owned platform, citing unspecified “California legal precedent.”
The address formerly listed on DMA’s profiles has not returned an email seeking comment today, and it is unclear at this time whether the individuals managing the accounts deleted them voluntarily. An Instagram spokesperson declined to comment.
This is not the first time DMA has disappeared since its first post in late 2017. In early March, the Instagram account went dark for several hours on the same day that a group of women working on the production side of the business posted a letter calling for the group to “dramatically change [its] tactics” or shut down altogether.
The account later reappeared, and at the time a spokesperson for the Facebook-owned platform told Adweek, “Instagram did not disable the account.” The reasons for the shutdown remain unclear.
Diet Madison Avenue, which has described itself as “17 ad junkies exposing Madison Ave sexual harassment & discrimination since Oct 2017, cuz HR won’t,” started quietly on Instagram but gained greater attention after publishing, on Instagram Stories, a list of several prominent men that it implicitly accused of sexual harassment. In many cases, the account did not include specifics regarding the claims made against these individuals. It later posted on the firings of multiple executives, some of whom had appeared on the initial list.
Army Sues Kachin Protesters for Defamation
The Northern Command of the Myanmar Army has sued three Kachin youth who led a sit-in protest against ongoing clashes in Kachin State for defamation.
On Wednesday, a local court issued summons against the three—Zau Jat of the Kachin National Social Development Association, director Nang Pu of the Htoi Gender and Development Foundation, and lawyer Lum Zawng.
“We have been sued and summoned by the court to appear tomorrow,” Zau Jat told The Irrawaddy.
“If we are to be sued, we should only be sued under Article 19 of the Peaceful Assembly and Procession Law. We are surprised that they sued us for defamation. We didn’t defame them,” said Zau Jat.
“We only called for enabling the rescue of trapped civilians. We don’t know what was defamatory to them,” added Zau Jat.
The defamation charge allows bail and carries a maximum two years’ imprisonment and a fine.
The Irrawaddy was not able to contact the Northern Command for comment.
Police Major Myat Moe of the Myitkyina Township police station said that the command might have directly filed a complaint with the court.
On April 30, more than 3,000 Kachin locals staged a protest march against ongoing clashes between the Myanmar Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Kachin State. Around 3,000 Kachin youth also staged a sit-in protest from April 30 to May 6, calling for the rescue of thousands of displaced persons trapped by the fighting.
Clashes that broke out on April 11 displaced more than 6,000 people in Tanai, Injangyang, Mogaung and Hpakant townships.
After negotiations between the Kachin State chief minister and the protestors on May 3, the Kachin State government agreed to intervene. On May 6, it rescued 160 villagers in Hpakant.
They fled their village following the clashes on April 11, but they were brought back to their village by the military column and had been trapped in the village since then.
Most of those trapped by the fighting have now escaped, but around 1,000 remain trapped in Tanai Township.
On May 9, lawyer Lum Zawng, and another protest leader Sut Seng Htoi were fined 30,000 kyats each by the Myitkyina Township court for breaching Article 19 of Peaceful Assembly and Procession Law.
Trump fails to halt ‘Apprentice’ contestant’s defamation lawsuit
A New York state appeals court on Thursday denied U.S. President Donald Trump’s bid to halt a defamation lawsuit by a former contestant on his reality TV show “The Apprentice” who accused him of making unwanted sexual advances.
In a one-page order, the Appellate Division in Manhattan did not explain why it refused to stay the lawsuit by Summer Zervos while the president appeals a March 20 lower court ruling that allowed the California restaurateur to pursue her case.
The White House was not immediately available for comment.
Trump is appealing a ruling by Justice Jennifer Schecter of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, which rejected his claim that as president he was immune from lawsuits over private conduct predating his entering the White House.
Zervos, an “Apprentice” contestant in 2005, accused Trump of kissing her against her will at a 2007 meeting in New York and later groping her at a Beverly Hills hotel.
She first came forward in October 2016, a month before the presidential election, following the release of a 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording in which Trump spoke in vulgar terms about women.
While Trump apologized for his comments, he said repeatedly during his campaign that all accusations made by women after the “Access Hollywood” recording became public were “lies.” He also republished on Twitter a post calling Zervos’ claims a hoax.
Zervos has said those denials amounted to defamation and that diners avoided her restaurant after she was branded a liar.
“We look forward to proving Ms. Zervos’s claim that defendant lied when he maliciously attacked her for reporting his sexually abusive behavior,” Zervos’ law firm, Cuti Hecker Wang said in a statement on Thursday.
Several women have accused Trump of improper sexual conduct or said he had affairs with them.
Stormy Daniels, a pornographic film actress whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is seeking to end an agreement in which Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen paid her $130,000 not to discuss her alleged affair with Trump.
Molenbeek mayor to sue British journalist for defamation
The mayor of Molenbeek is seeking to file a civil suit against British journalist Katie Hopkins for depicting the Brussels neighborhood “the European capital of jihadism.”
“What this journalist did is inexcusable,” Molenbeek Mayor François Schepmans told Belgian outlet La Dernière Heure on Thursday. “In her comments, she’s shown a real desire to break Molenbeek.”
Katie Hopkins, a British journalist known for her anti-Muslim views, earlier this week accosted Schepmans in the street and grilled her on local authorities’ apparent failure to detain Salah Abdeslam — one of the perpetrators of the 2015 Paris attacks that killed 130 people — despite the fact he was known to police.
Schepmans, who claimed she was not aware she was speaking to a journalist and that the interaction was being filmed, responded by explaining that local authorities were not in a position to detain Abdeslam, as it’s the “job of the federal police.” The exchange was later posted on Twitter.
“It happens to me often that a person on the street comes up to me and wants to talk about the neighborhood, but it’s usually in a positive way,” Schepmans said. “[Hopkins] was sitting on a bench and I never imagined she was a journalist. But she kept talking about the same thing and I gave her the same explanation several times, so that aggravated me and I left.”
Hopkins also published a misleading tweet Tuesday that included video footage of a warehouse fire in another neighborhood. She suggested the “explosion” took place in Molenbeek, which she called “the Jihadi Capital of Europe,” and was related to the start of Ramadan.
The tweet “presented a truncated image of Molenbeek and depicted it as the European capital of jihadism,” Schepmans said. “She’s attacking all of its residents and we cannot allow that to continue to happen.”
Schepmans said she intends to propose launching a civil suit against Hopkins for defamation during a municipal council meeting on Friday, and that she would inform U.S. network Fox News — which regularly works with Hopkins — of the incident.