Gaslamp Killer Files $5 Million Defamation Lawsuit Over Rape Accusation
William Bensussen, the electronic music producer and longtime Low End Theory resident known as The Gaslamp Killer, has filed a $5 million defamation lawsuit against two women who accused him last month on social media of drugging and raping them in 2013. The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Nov. 13, names the two women, Chelsea Tadros and RaeAn Medina, along with Tadros’ boyfriend, Jack Wagner.
The 26-page suit, a copy of which was obtained by L.A. Weekly, seeks damages on seven counts, including defamation by libel, false light, interference with contractual relations and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
“These false and despicable allegations have sabotaged Mr. Bensussen’s career, upended his personal life, and led to the cancellation of his shows,” Bensussen’s attorney, Parag Amin, said via a written statement. “Mr. Bensussen is seeking to restore his good name the right way — through a court of law, where people must testify under oath and there is accountability for false statements.”
Tadros, Medina and Wagner did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Through a representative, Bensussen also declined to comment, instead referring to a press release that included statements from his attorney, Amin.
“False stories like the ones perpetrated by these two women further victimize real victims of assault,” Amin said.Bensussen was first accused of rape on Oct. 12, by a woman then identified only as Chelsea, who posted a screenshot on Twitter of a lengthy statement in which she “falsely [claimed] that she and Medina were raped by Bensussen on July 5, 2013 after being drugged at The Standard hotel in Downtown Los Angeles,” as described in the suit, which reprints the original accusation in full. In her statement, Tadros claimed after she and her friend, Medina, returned from the bathroom, Bensussen gave them drinks that had been spiked with some kind of drug.
Taylor Swift’s Team Issued a Defamation Threat Against a Website With 76 Twitter Followers
In September, a blog called PopFront published a post headlined “Swiftly to the alt-right: Taylor Swift subtly gets the lower case “kkk” in formation with ‘Look What You Made Me Do.’” The writer, Meghan Herning, criticized the Swift’s lead Reputation single, asserting that its lyrics speak to “white anger and [affirm] white supremacy.” Herning also pointed out that Swift has fans in the alt-right movement, and argued that she had not done enough to distance herself from them.
PopFront, which aims to cover culture from a leftist perspective, is a decidedly independent operation, with an extremely small audience. The site’s Twitter account has 76 followers at the time of this writing, and its Facebook page has just over 1,000 likes. It seems likely that very few people read the alt-right post when it was published. It would be easy for Swift to ignore the criticism, but instead, her lawyer responded with a strongly-worded demand that PopFront retract the post, with a threat to pursue litigation if it were to remain online.
The Northern California branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is working on Herning’s behalf, published the letter this afternoon. It is addressed to Herning from William J. Briggs, II, an attorney at the law firm Venable LLP. “The story is replete with demonstrable and offensive falsehoods which bear no relation to reality or the truth about Ms. Swift,” it reads in part. “It appears to be a malicious attack against Ms. Swift that goes to great lengths to portray Ms. Swift as some sort of white supremacist figurehead…As further shown below, PopFront is substantially liable to Ms. Swift for defamation.”
PopFront’s criticism of “Look What You Made Me Do” focuses largely on just a few lyrics, as well as an image from the music video of Swift behind a podium, which Herning interprets as being visually similar to a Nazi rally given by Adolf Hitler. She spends several paragraphs with the line “I don’t like your kingdom keys / They once belonged to me,” which, she claims, “is another way of saying, I will not be replaced and anger over white dispossession of power.”
Anti-Defamation League slams Larry David’s ‘SNL’ monologue
The Anti-Defamation League is among those decrying Larry David’s controversial “Saturday Night Live” monologue.
Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the organization that fights anti-Semitism and forms of hate, was among the numerous Twitter users who were offended by David’s remarks, calling the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” creator “offensive, insensitive and unfunny all at the same time.”
The self-deprecating Jewish star sparked controversy during his second hosting stint over the weekend after joking about finding a date at a concentration camp — a bit he did to riff on Hollywood’s numerous sexual assault allegations. David also pointed out that many of the men accused of misconduct over the past few weeks are Jews.
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The Anti-Defamation League is among those decrying Larry David’s controversial “Saturday Night Live” monologue. Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the organization that fights anti-Semitism and forms of hate, was among the numerous Twitter users who were offended by David’s remarks, calling the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” creator “offensive, insensitive and unfunny all at the same time.” The self-deprecating Jewish star sparked controversy during his second hosting stint over the weekend after joking about finding a date at a concentration camp — a bit he did to riff on Hollywood’s numerous sexual assault allegations. David also pointed out that many of the men accused of misconduct over the past few weeks are Jews. The self-deprecating Jewish star sparked controversy during his second hosting stint over the weekend after joking about finding a date at a concentration camp — a bit he did to riff on Hollywood’s numerous sexual assault allegations. David also pointed out that many of the men accused of misconduct over the past few weeks are Jews. a bit he did to riff on Hollywood’s numerous sexual assault allegations. David also pointed out that many of the men accused of misconduct over the past few weeks are Jews.
Chris Gayle wins defamation case against Fairfax Media
The cricketer Chris Gayle has won his defamation case against Fairfax Media after a jury found a series of articles published in 2016 which alleged he exposed his penis to a masseuse were untrue.
The jury at the supreme court in Sydney took less than two hours to answer no to all three questions it was asked to consider, including whether he had exposed himself and indecently propositioned her.
The masseuse, Leanne Russell, gave evidence last week that it was “horrific” and she cried uncontrollably in 2015 after the West Indies cricketer pulled his towel down to expose his penis and asked her, “Is this what you’re looking for?” when she walked into the change room at the Drummoyne Oval in Sydney.
Gayle, who captained the West Indies Test team between 2007 and 2010 and is known for his big-hitting and aggressive style of batting, sued Fairfax for the articles which he said were untrue and had damaged his reputation.
On Monday Gayle embraced his barrister, Bruce McClintock, as they left the court. “I’m a good man. I’m not guilty,” Gayle told reporters outside court.
Gayle said he was “very happy” and thanked his legal team who he said had done a great job. He said it was never about the money and if Fairfax appealed he would fight it again. He wanted to put the “emotional” case behind him and get on with his life.
Fairfax said it believes the jury was misled and it did not get a fair trial.
“Fairfax Media is concerned with the conduct of the trial to the extent that, on Friday, it sought an order that the jury be discharged and a new trial ordered,” a spokesman said. “The judge accepted that the jury had been misled in a way that prejudiced Fairfax but declined to discharge the jury. Fairfax believes that it did not get a fair trial. It is seriously considering its appeal rights.”
Andrew Little wins defamation battle against Hagaman estate
The Court of Appeal has dismissed a defamation claim brought by the wife of the late millionaire hotelier Earl Hagaman against former Labour leader and current Justice Minister Andrew Little.
Lani Hagaman and her husband sued Mr Little for $2.3 million at a hearing in April this year and later filed an appeal shortly before Mr Hagaman’s death in May.
It stemmed from comments Mr Little made in a press release and subsequent radio and television interviews in April last year about Mr Hagaman’s $100,000 donation to the National Party.
The donation was made a month before his company, Scenic Hotel Group, was awarded a contract to operate Niue’s Matavai luxury resort.
The High Court jury cleared Mr Little of defaming Ms Hagaman but was unable to reach a full decision in regard to Mr Hagaman.
The jury found on one of six causes of action that Mr Little had defamed Mr Hagaman but couldn’t reach a majority decision on whether the defence of qualified privilege applied.
Ms Hagaman took that to the Court of Appeal, but on Thursday the court said the defamation claim had not survived Mr Hagaman’s death and there was “no conclusive answer on that cause of action”.
“Labour List MP Andrew Little has just received the decision on the appeal of the late Earl Raymond Hagaman v Andrew James Little,” a spokesperson for Mr Little says.
“Mr Little is pleased the matter has been finalised. There will be no further comment.”
Mr Hagaman’s estate must pay costs for the appeal.
The Court of Appeal has dismissed a defamation claim brought by the wife of the late millionaire hotelier Earl Hagaman against former Labour leader and current Justice Minister Andrew Little.Lani Hagaman and her husband sued Mr Little for $2.3 million at a hearing in April this year and later filed an appeal shortly before Mr Hagaman’s death in May.
Bill O’Reilly Files #MeToo Defamation Lawsuit Against Former Politician
Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has filed a $5 million dollar defamation lawsuit against a former New Jersey politician that accuses him of “making defamatory and false” statements about him in a #MeToo Facebook post. According to the suit, Michael Panter falsely posted on Facebook that O’Reilly had sexually harassed an ex-partner and then attempted to ask her for help in digging up dirt on one of his multiple accusers. In response to the accusation, O’Reilly stated, “Panter’s post is completely contrived, false and defamatory, aimed at hurting Bill O’Reilly and his family. Mr. O’Reilly will be commencing legal action against Mr. Panter, and the ex-partner he quotes, for all damages he and his family have suffered from this improper conduct.”
According to the Facebook post, O’Reilly not only hit on Panter’s ex-girlfriend, but repeatedly subjected her to late-night phone calls and asked her for help in uncovering personal information about a new woman accusing O’Reilly of sexual harassment in an attempt to discredit her, asking Panter’s ex-partner if she knew anything about possible drug use or the new accuser’s financial situation.
O’Reilly filed the suit in New York in a response to Panter’s purportedly “intentional, malicious, and bad faith actions in making defamatory and false statements in a publicly-available social post.” In response to O’Reilly’s claims of defamation, Panter issued a follow-up statement that defended his claims against O’Reilly and raised the possibility of bringing counter defamation claims against him in the future.
Social media is a relatively uncharted legal territory, and the question of what constitutes defamation over platforms like Facebook and Twitter remains murky. In American defamation law, any communication, even through social media, can be considered libelous if it is found to be false and damaging to an individual or corporation. The success of a defamation claim can also hinge on whether the subject is a public figure. In order to be found liable for defamation against a person who is famous or well known, a person must have acted with “actual malice,” meaning that he or she was aware that the statement in question was false, or acted with reckless disregard for the truth.
Sexual harassment: More stars facing accusations
Two Oscar-winning actors, a Hollywood filmmaker and a senior US news editor are the latest high-profile figures to be accused of sexual harassment.
The actors Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman have been accused of sexual misconduct and have issued apologies.
Meanwhile, six women have accused Brett Ratner, director of the Rush Hour film series and X-Men: The Last Stand, of sexual harassment or misconduct.
Ratner’s lawyer “categorically” denied all of the accusations on his behalf.
A representative for Spacey released a short statement to the US media, saying the actor “is taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment. No other information is available at this time”.
A growing number of allegations have been made against public figures in recent weeks.
The allegations have been sparked by multiple women speaking out against the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, and a subsequent campaign encouraging victims to share their stories of sexual harassment under the #metoo hashtag.
So who has been accused of misconduct?
New allegations have emerged from a number of men accusing Kevin Spacey of sexual misconduct.
US filmmaker Tony Montana claims he was groped by the actor in a Los Angeles bar in 2003. He says he was left with PTSD for six months after Spacey “forcefully” grabbed his crotch.
Mr Montana told Radar Online that he was in his thirties when the incident took place at the Coronet Bar in LA.
It follows an allegation made by Anthony Rapp that the House of Cards actor tried to “seduce” him when he was 14 years old.
Kevin Spacey says he has no recollection of that encounter, and was “beyond horrified”.
Incidents regarding Spacey are also alleged to have taken place in the UK while the two-time Oscar winner was the artistic director at the Old Vic in London between 2004 and 2015.
Mexican actor Roberto Cavazos, who acted in several plays at the theatre, claims Spacey “routinely preyed” on young male actors.
Me too: I was sexually harassed at 11
Following the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, women have been sharing their stories of sexual harassment online using the hashtag #metoo. Here, Shaimaa Khalil writes about her first experience of harassment as a child growing up in Egypt.
There’s one particular day – soon after I turned 11 – that I can’t forget.
I was at my grandparents’ house and for the first time I’d been allowed to go out with a cousin and her friend, without any adults – three girls on our own, out on our first adventure.
“Be careful. Don’t go too far and don’t spend your money on stupid things,” my grandma warned us. She meant ice cream – and yes, we were planning to spend our money on that.
I was excited, but nervous. This needed to go well if I was to stand a chance of ever going out on my own!
“OK Shaimaa,” I remember thinking. “No falling, no fighting, no losing your money.” I should have added: “No getting sexually harassed by teenage boys.” But how could I know?
In the busy summer streets of Alexandria, we hadn’t realised we were being followed. But three boys walking behind started bumping into us. Then one of them groped me.
All I could do to escape our tormentors was walk ahead as fast as I could, with my cousin and her friend trying to catch up.
But they kept following us.
The three of us held hands and rushed back toward my grandparents’ house.
The boys were right behind. Now verbally harassing us.
I was frightened, but also angry. These boys had ruined my big day. I turned around and yelled: “Kifaya! Enough!”
“Kifaya!” one of them echoed, mocking me.
Later on, my mother chastised me. “You talked to them?” she fumed. “You don’t talk to someone who’s harassing you … you just keep going. That’s what they want – if you engage and make a scene, they win.”
My grandma chimed in. “Were you loud? Were you laughing and being silly for no reason? I know how you can get, Shaimaa.”
Brett Ratner Sues Woman for Defamation Over Rape Allegation
Brett Ratner has filed a defamation lawsuit against a woman who claims he raped her over a decade ago in Los Angeles.
Melanie Kohler first made the allegations against the director in an Oct. 20 Facebook post, calling him a “rapist” and saying the assault took place “in Hollywood about 12 years ago,” according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.
“[Ratner] preyed on me as a drunk girl [and] forced himself upon me,” the documents claim she said in the post.
Ratner is suing for defamation, claiming an unspecified amount of damages.
Six women — including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge — spoke out against Ratner, 48, in an article published by the Los Angeles Times Wednesday. Munn said that while visiting the set of the 2004 Ratner-directed film After the Sunset, he masturbated in front of her.
In a statement to the L.A. Times, Ratner’s attorney Martin Singer vehemently disputed the specific allegations and said “no woman has ever made a claim against him for sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. Furthermore, no woman has ever requested or received any financial settlement from my client.”
On Wednesday, Ratner responded to the allegations himself, saying, “In light of the allegations being made, I am choosing to personally step away from all Warner Bros.- related activities.” He added, “I don’t want to have any possible negative impact to the studio until these personal issues are resolved.”
Ratner is a longtime Hollywood power player known for directing the Rush Hour series and producing movies like Horrible Bosses and The Revenant. He reportedly had a first-look deal with Warner Bros. and was connected to a project titled Goldfinch based of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller of the same name. According to Deadline, insiders at Warner Bros. say that Ratner no longer has an office at the studio, has been removed from the Goldfinch project and will not have his deal renewed.