Jury Awards Cardi B Over $1 Million in Defamation Lawsuit

A federal jury in Atlanta has awarded Cardi B $1.25 million in a defamation lawsuit against a celebrity news blogger who she says posted videos falsely stating the Grammy-winning artist used cocaine, had contracted herpes, and engaged in prostitution. 

            On Monday, a jury found Latasha Kebe, known as Tasha K online, and her company liable for defamation, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress against Cardi B, whose given name is Belcalis Almanzar. In an email sent on Tuesday, Kebe’s lawyers said that they disagree with the verdict and will file an appeal.

            Kebe, who lives in Atlanta and owns a YouTube channel called unWinewithTashaK, began targeting the rapper back in early 2018, making “degrading and harassing statements” about her, according to the lawsuit. On Sept. 19, 2018, Kebe published a video in which she did an interview with a woman who claims to have known Cardi B before her music career. It was in this video that “false, malicious and defamatory” statements were made that claim that Cardi B was a prostitute, had herpes, and had suffered outbreaks on her mouth.

            Shortly after that video was published, Cardi B’s lawyer sent a cease-and-desist letter to Kebe demanding its immediate removal. Instead of doing such, Kebe published another video on Sept. 21, 2018, doubling down, claiming that everything said in the previous video was accurate and also adding that the artist was cheating on her husband, the lawsuit also says. For months after this, Kebe had attacked Cardi B and made false statements about her on social media, says the lawsuit.

            These statements caused Cardi B “embarrassment, humiliation, mental anguish, and emotional distress,” according to the lawsuit. They also “caused damage to (Cardi B’s) reputation and character within her profession and industry, including but not limited to among her fans and with prospective business relations.” 

            Kebe filed counterclaims against Cardi B, saying that she encouraged her associates and fans to threaten and harass her. In her filing, she says this harassment led to her having to move her family to a different city in another county and changing her phone number. As the court filing says, Cardi B and her associates engaged in a “pattern of intimidation and harassment” against her when they threatened physical violence against her. U.S. District Judge William Ray dismissed Kebe’s claims in July saying she failed to provide evidence that proved that Cardi B was the actual cause of any alleged assault or emotional distress.

            The Jury awarded Cardi B $1 million in general damages for pain and suffering and/or reputational injury and $250,000 in medical expenses.

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