Legendary recording artist Aretha Franklin filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against American Media, Inc., publisher of the tabloid Star magazine today (November 28, 2001).
The lawsuit was filed in the Federal District Court of Michigan, Wayne County, over a December 2000 article published by Star magazine, titled “Aretha Franklin Drinking Herself into Grave.”
Star’s article claimed that Ms. Franklin abused alcohol and that her alleged dependency was the cause for her canceling numerous concert performances, which hurt her bookings.
“By publishing this vicious assault on a beloved cultural icon, the Star has reconfirmed that it has no journalistic standards,” said Barry Langberg, a partner in the Los Angeles office of the law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, who represented the Grammy Award winning artist.
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan firm’s First Amendment lawyers represented a number of cases over the past 25 years, including Carol Burnett, Shirley Jones, Steve Wynn, Martha Stewart, Rodney Dangerfield and Berry Gordy.