Marques Johnson, a hip hop artist who goes by the name of Andre Roxx, has now filed a defamation lawsuit against TMZ for improper identification.
The defamation charge surrounds a TMZ article published in 2014, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The piece in question stated that a rapper affiliated with the Wu-Tang Clan had been rushed to hospital after cutting off his own penis. Johnson claims that he was initially tagged in the article by TMZ, before they amended the story and mentioned a different guy by the name of Christ Bearer.
Marques Johnson filed the lawsuit yesterday in a Delaware federal court.
TMZ made the correction, but the original write-up caused massive damage, according to the filing. After TMZ published the story, other media outlets such as BET.com, USA Today, Radio One, the New York Daily News and others mentioned Johnson’s music name, Andre Roxx in their stories.
Once UK-based publication Daily Mail published the inaccurate news, the false information was spread internationally. ”TMZ’s original, inaccurate story immediately spread across the Internet and to television and radio news,” the complaint read.
Even after TMZ had amended their article, those downstream sources didn’t make adjustments. ”No Defendant other than TMZ has even corrected the story.” The USA Today article, for example, was checked by DMN today and it’s still incorrect (though the article does say according to TMZ). Given that scenario, Johnson would find it difficult to sue a publication on the basis that they said something that someone else stated, regardless of whether this is or isn’t true.
Radio station 100.3 The Beat also published a story with the false information, which prompted Johnson to file a lawsuit against iHeart Media as well.
Back in 2014 when stories were released, Johnson was in prison. He claims that as a result of the false articles, he was harassed by inmates causing him to go into protective custody. Since his release in 2015, he has struggled to rebuild his career.
At this stage, there’s no information on how much Johnson is seeking to claim in damages from TMZ or other media outlets.
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