Every day, sites such as the Onion produce satirical news content, which often portrays current events with a silly twist. Not everyone always appreciates their stories, however, and superstar singer Aretha Franklin is suing one such website for a story it ran that she says was meant to portray her in a "slanderous and derogatory way."
The story began on April 11, when The News Nerd published a story "reporting" that singer Patti Labelle had been arrested and charged with assault in battery after a run-in with Franklin at a March 20 concert in Atlanta. The story then goes on to recount the supposed confrontation in which the two were working out their "outstanding issues" with one another and says that the altercation stemmed from Labelle feeling slighted after the recent “Women of Soul” concert at the White House. It also includes some wacky details, such as Labelle taking off her wig and earrings to prepare for a fist fight.
Franklin is now reportedly filing a $10 million lawsuit against the website, which has changed the byline of the story to "The News Nerd Staff" as well as some of the text. The site does include a disclaimer in its permanent footer saying that all stories are satirical and has added an extra one above the text of the Franklin story reading "The stories posted on TheNewsNerd are for entertainment purposes only."
The singer, however, said through her publicist that the story "was not presented as satire or humor," claiming it was presented as a serious story that constitutes defamation of character.
72-year-old Franklin initially issued a statement on Tuesday saying that she'd "never heard anything crazier" than the claim that she and Patti had it out. The two did in fact appear at the White House concert in March but Franklin made sure to clarify that they are "cool and we always have been."
"I enjoyed her at the White House. Classic Patti," she added.