With the popularity of the internet, blogs and social media, it can be pretty tricky deciphering what’s real and what isn’t.
Well a satirical website may learn a hard lesson after the “Queen of Soul” is finished with them. The News Nerd has been slapped with a $10 million lawsuit after writing a fake story about Patti LaBelle punching Aretha Franklin in the face.
“The stories were not presented as satire or humor,” [Franklin] said through her publicist. “It was presented as a serious news story intended to depict me in a slanderous and derogatory way – defamation of character.”
On April 11th, the News Nerd published a story that claimed LaBelle had been charged with assault and battery after accosting Franklin, apparently angered over how Franklin “threw epic shade” at her. The supposed attack took place at the Women of Soul concert in Atlanta in March. “Franklin was quickly struck with a Mayweather style right and left and stumbled backwards, landing awkwardly,” the website wrote. “Bystanders subdued Labelle and escorted her outside of the venue. Franklin suffered only minor injuries.”
A few days later, Franklin issued a statement denying the attack. “I’ve never heard anything crazier – regarding myself and Patti allegedly fighting on March 20, in Atlanta,” she wrote, via Billboard. “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. I enjoyed her at the White House. Classic Patti.”
Since the article went public, the New Nerd has since changed the byline from Kato Leonard to “The News Nerd Staff.”
Should satirical websites be more transparent about stories being fake? Or is it the people’s responsibility to investigate? Both?
Sound off below!