Celebrity lawyer Lisa Bloom represents three clients who accuse R&B singer Usher of failing to disclose an alleged herpes infection before sexual contact. In a new interview with Billboard, Bloom argues that if Usher indeed carries herpes, he can be held liable for exposing others. According to Boom, that’s the case even if a sex partner tests negative for the disease—as one of Usher’s accusers, 21-year-old Quantisia Sharpton, says happened to her.
“In California, he’s still liable because if he was positive, and if he had sex with her without revealing it, he’s still liable for exposing her, which is a violation of her rights,” Bloom said.
Bloom drew a parallel to a 1989 case involving actor Rock Hudson, one of the first prominent celebrities to be diagnosed with AIDS. After Hudson’s death in 1985, a former sex partner sued the actor’s estate, saying Hudson caused him emotional distress by failing to disclose that he was HIV-positive.
“The sex partner was negative. Never did get the virus,” Bloom said. “Took him to trial and won several millions of dollars because the jury said that it was wrong to expose him, even if he didn’t get it, it’s still a violation of his rights, he still had to go through the mental anguish and worry about being exposed. The law in California is also that if you fail to disclose something like this, it changes the nature of the act from consensual to nonconsensual.”
“I have looked at the allegations that my clients have made very carefully,” Bloom added later. “There is corroboration with those claims. … I wouldn’t have brought this case if I didn’t think they were credible.”
The other two clients in Bloom’s case against Usher have thus far remained anonymous. She has previously said that at least one of the two tested positive for herpes. Under California law, intentionally transmitting a communicable disease is a misdemeanor.
Read the full interview with Lisa Bloom here.