Aretha Sues Satire Site for $10M Over Fistfight Story

Nerd News 'reported' Franklin, Patti LaBelle duked it out

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 18, 2014 9:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – There's a disclaimer at the bottom of the News Nerd site clarifying that articles found therein "are purely satirical," but the thousands of people who shared one of the stories on Facebook and Twitter this weekend may not have noticed said disclaimer. The satirical article in question, published April 11, claimed that Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle got into a fistfight at an Atlanta concert in March. But people seemed to believe it when it went viral, Gawker reports, and now Franklin is suing News Nerd—for $10 million.

Franklin tells the Detroit News, through her publicist, that the News Nerd article was "not presented as satire or humor. It was presented as a serious news story intended to depict me in a slanderous and derogatory way—defamation of character." Here are a few lines from the "serious" story:

  • "Onlookers say LaBelle quickly removed her wig and earrings as she approached Franklin. Aretha, knowing that the removal of earrings is a tell-tale sign that a fight is about to ensue, attempted to prepare herself for the confrontation. Franklin was quickly struck with a Mayweather style right and left and stumbled backwards, landing awkwardly."
Franklin had on Tuesday issued a rather amusing statement after the article started to pick up steam: "I've never heard anything crazier ... On March 20, I was in New York City readying for my birthday patty (Sorry. LOL. Laughing at my typo error). I meant PARTY, which we all had one fabulous time. Patti and I are cool and we always have been."

Aretha Franklin attends her 72nd birthday celebration on Saturday, March 22, 2014 in New York.   (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
In this May 11, 2013 file photo, Aretha Franklin performs during McDonald's Gospelfest 2013.   (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
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