Stars sued for being offensive, loud, and worse
Following up on threats made when the Queen of Pop debuted a video featuring ultra-conservative French party leader Marine Le Pen with a swastika emblazoned on her forehead in Tel Aviv in May, Le Pen's camp announced today that the politician will file a lawsuit for "public insult" after Madge brought the same video to Paris' Le Stade de France Saturday night. The video, which also visually criticized leaders like Pope Benedict, Chinese leader Hu Jintao, and (because who can resist) Sarah Palin, backed the song "Nobody Knows Me" and highlighted the "Nazi-sympathizing image," reports the Guardian, that Le Pen attempted to clean up after she took over the party from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen. (Marine Le Pen came in third in the presidential race.)
Madonna is also facing a much less timely case, one that claims (per E!) that the singer's iconic 1990 House Ball-inspired "Vogue" "intentionally sampled" the horn and strings from a Delaware-based company VMG's 1977 composition, a song called "Love Break." The company claims that producer Richard "Shep" Pettibone, who worked on "Vogue," had been originally hired by VMG to do a few remixes of "Love Break" and the samples he and Madonna's label, Warner Bros., allegedly took from the VMG tune were "intentionally disguised" and "deliberately hidden… within 'Vogue' so as to avoid detection." The company claims in the suit that it was only in 2011, when the company got ahold of the right technology, were they able to "confirm" the sampling (the suit also claims the company has sent two notices to the label and to Madonna's camp of the infringement since July of last year). The company is suing for damages "in addition to [Madonna's] profits that are attributable to the copyrighted material."
Here's the backdrop video for which Le Pen is suing Madonna, for the MDNA song "Nobody Knows Me":
Jay-Z will be facing a similarly belated legal action in the near future. Dwayne Walker, a Bronx-based clothing designer, just filed a lawsuit in Manhattan on Thursday seeking $7 million from Jay and his Roc-A-Fella label, claiming he designed its logo in 1995 and was never paid for his work or subsequent royalties, according to the AP. The relaunched label is currently a subsidiary of Island Def Jam/Universal Music Group, though Jay-Z stepped down from his boss role in 2007. Why the suit is so late in coming has not been reported; neither the founders of Roc-a-Fella nor the heads of Def Jam have commented.
Also, a woman named Stacey Wilson Betts is suing Justin Bieber, his label (Island/Universal), the concert promoter, and the Rose Garden Arena in Portland for $9.23 million in damages, saying she developed tinnitus after taking her daughter to the Biebs' July 14, 2010 concert there. TMZ reports that Betts claims to have suffered permanent hearing damage after Bieber was steered into the crowd riding "a heart-shaped aluminum/steel gondola" and "[pointed] into various sections of the arena, [enticing] the crowd into a frenzy of screams by continuously waving his arms in a quick and upward motion." Said heart boat (which is, incidentally, not the only metallic vehicle Bieber employs) acted as a "sound conductor creating a sound blast that permanently damaged both of [her] ears," Betts says, resulting in sleep loss and a constant ringing sound. No one from Bieber's camp has commented on the suit, but considering the singer's history with unruly fans, as well as the dubious science at play, this one is likely to be resolved pretty quickly — a relief, we're sure, for Betts' no doubt mortified daughter.
Watch (and listen) to two videos taken at said 2010 concert at your ears' own risk: