Sacha Baron Cohen has settled a slander lawsuit with a Palestinian grocer who alleged that he was portrayed as a terrorist in the 2009 mockumentary Bruno.
Ayman Abu Aita was was interviewed by Cohen as his dippy Austrian fashion alter-ego Bruno, believing that it was part of a film about the Palestine peace process. The joke in Bruno was that two spoke about Aita’s Christian peace activism onscreen while a caption ran below stating Aita is part of the terrorist group the Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade. Cohen also appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman discussing a "terrorist" he had met, meaning Aita, which prompted Aita to include Letterman in his lawsuit as well. The poor guy says that after Bruno came out, he’s gotten death threats for supposedly being a terrorist and his business has suffered. He sued Cohen for $110 million, but this week has now settled for an undisclosed amount.
Cohen, for his part, had argued that he was well within the bounds of free speech. And as we all know, free speech also allows you to act like a dick.
Jay-Z’s got 99 problems and a lawsuit is one: designer Dwayne Walker has filed a $7 million lawsuit in NYC over alleged unpaid royalties on the Roc-A-Fella logo.
In his suit filed Thursday, Walker says he created the logo back in 1995 and sues Jay and Jay’s former Roc-A-Fella label partners Damon Dash and Kareem Burke for not compensating him.
Roc-A-Fella’s logo is a cursive "R" over a record and a popping bottle of champagne. It was first used on Jay’s debut album, Reasonable Doubt, which dropped in 1996. Roc-A-Fella is now a subsidiary of Universal Music Group.
Whether this lawsuit is legit or not, Jay-Z shouldn’t have too much trouble finding that seven mil in the cushions of his couch.
Another day, another accuser! John Travolta, who was hit with a lawsuit this week related to allegations by three male massage therapists regarding inappropriate sexual advances, is now being accused of such by a fourth one, who says Travolta’s behavior got him blacklisted from the spa at New York’s Peninsula Hotel.
Using statements from Michael Caputo, a former masseur at the luxe Fifth Avenue hotel, the New York Daily News reports Travolta was banished to the spa’s "no-thigh zone" for three years in the early 2000s for "inappropriate behavior" with male massage therapists, though–following a complaint from Travolta’s camp–the ban was eventually lifted (much like Travolta’s towel when in the presence of a masseur).
So what did Travolta do at the Peninsula? Via Us, Caputo divulges some juicy (and gross, because, you know… John Travolta) details:
"Travolta would always request a man for his massage, but after a while no one would take him," Caputo shares. "It got to the point where they couldn’t find any men to take him, and they had to ban him."
According to Caputo, male employees accused the star of "removing his towel, grinding against the massage table and lifting his butt in the air."
Wait, it’s not normal to grind against a massage table and lift your butt in the air? Prudes!
MCA’s family and friends have hardly had time to grieve for the recently deceased rapper, and already the Beastie Boys, the group that brought him, along with Ad-Rock and Mike D., to fame, are back in hot water.
Hip-hop label Tuf America filed suit against the Beasties, claiming that the group improperly sampled the 1982 Trouble Funk song “Drop The Bomb” among others on cuts from albums including Paul’s Boutique and Licensed to Ill.
According to All Hip-Hop, “Tuf America said they did a thorough sound analysis of the tracks in question and concluded that the Beastie Boys illegally incorporated elements of the songs without permission. To complicate the matter, Tuf America claims The Beasties and Capitol Records continue to profit off the album, by way of anniversary and commemorative releases of Licensed To Ill and Paul’s Boutique, which was released in 1989.”
Sound analysis? Yikes! But the surviving Beasties might not want to worry too much about this, after all lawsuits over sampling are a dime a dozen these days.
Last year superstar producer Timbaland was sued not once but twice for sampling—once involving Nelly Furtado’s “Do It,” below—with both cases going in his favor (albeit because the works weren’t properly copyrighted in the U.S.). Of one of the lawsuits, Tim said, ““It makes me laugh. The part I don’t understand, the dude is trying to act like I went to his house and took it from his computer. I don’t know him from a can of paint. I’m 15 years deep. That’s how you attack a king? You attack moi?”
Also last year, litigious soul singer Syl Johnson, who once took Cypress Hill to court, sued Jay-Z and Kanye West for what he considered use of part of a song of his, “Different Strokes,” for the song “The Joy.” He claimed that after he denied West permission to use his music, West just went ahead and did so anyway. Kanye and Jay released a statement saying it wasn’t the case, but the duo ended up settling with Johnson after all.
Throughout the ages, Lil Wayne has had plenty of trouble with the law. But in 2008, it wasn’t guns or cars or drugs that got him in trouble, but sampling. South African-born musician Karma-Ann Swanepoel took Wayne to court, saying he had illegally sampled her track “Once”—and only approached her with a contract for the right to do so after the song was released. In turn, Weezy turned around and sued the track’s producers.
Last year, a woman named Mariah Yeater sued Justin Bieber, claiming he was the father of her baby boy, conceived when the two had sex backstage at one of Biber’s concerts. Bieber refused to take a paternity test–and didn’t really comment on the accusation much at all–and eventually, Yeater dropped her case and walked away a creepy, disgraced liar. So why are we talking about her again?
Oh, that’s right! Because yesterday, for reasons unknown, Bieber addressed Yeater directly for the first time in a tweet which read, "Dear mariah yeeter…we have never met…so from the heart I just wanted to say…" followed by a link to this video of Sacha Baron Cohen (as Borat) saying, "You will never get this."
Did something about which we don’t know happen in the interim? Is Bieber just being a jerk? The mystery–much like Yeater’s 15 minutes of fame–lives on.