TMZ Sued for Saying Wrong Rapper Cut Off His Penis
TMZ is a go-to site for celebrity tea. But sometimes mistakes happen and the wrong tea is spilled. Back in April 2014 they reported a story which identified a Wu-Tang Clan and Killa Beez associate Marques Johnson, a hip-hop artist known as Andre Roxx, as the man who cut off his own penis before attempting suicide. But, according to Johnson they had the wrong guy and now he’s suing.
Johnson brought up a defamation of character suit against TMZ, claiming in the original story they named him before revising the article and identifying the actual man, Christ Bearer. The story in question made headlines noting, "rapper affiliated with Wu-Tang Clan was rushed to the hospital early Wednesday after he cut off his penis and then jumped off a second story balcony."
"TMZ's original, inaccurate story immediately spread across the Internet and to television and radio news," states a complaint filed Wednesday in Delaware federal court (as reported by Hollywood Reporter). After the original story was published, other outlets including BET.com, the television show Extra, Radio One, the New York Daily News, USA Today, Urban Daily, and Barstool Sports picked it up and began naming Johnson as the man who mutilated his own genitals. "Andre Johnson, who spits under the names Christ Bearer and Andre Roxx," BET reported.
Although TMZ cleaned up the story, the damage was already done. "Even after TMZ posted a corrected story, and after other media outlets had made some effort to correct their stories, Defendants continued to report the same false information — that Plaintiff had cut off his penis and jumped off a balcony, and to this day no Defendant other than TMZ has even corrected the story," the complaint stated. Even the Clan disassociated themselves with Johnson.
Since the incident, Bearer has spoken out claiming he was high on PCP at the time. But hopefully Johnson can get his name back and some peace of mind.
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