Celebrities are loved by millions of people all over the world. We all have a favorite celebrity, someone we’ve never met but love. We watch their movies, or listen to their songs, and could spend hours talking about them. People set up blogs dedicated to them, write books about them, and they’re constantly in the news. But what happens when it feels like your favorite celebrity let you down? Or worse, actually hurt you?
Most of us would just be quietly disappointed, or complain on Twitter. “That sucks,” we’d say, and then move on with our day. Some people, however, feel that celebrities need to pay for disappointments and mistakes, and they resolve to use the court system to make it happen, whether the celebrity was actually in the wrong or not.
Without further ado, here are 10 celebrities who were sued, rightfully or wrongfully, by their own fans.
Concerts are a dangerous place to be sometimes. Between the packed, jostling crowds, the limited visibility, the strobing lights, and disorienting loud sounds, there’s numerous ways to find yourself injured. That’s exactly what happened to one fan in 2014, at a concert performed by famed DJ and dubstep artist, Skrillex.
Jennifer Fraissl was in the concert audience when Skrillex leapt off a DJ table up on the stage, allegedly landing directly on her and causing her to have a stroke! Though his attorney claims that the video of the incident clearly shows no contact between Skrillex and Fraissl, the jury tasked with the final decision in this lawsuit disagreed.
Fraissl was awarded a cool 4.5 Million in damages, divided up between Skrillex, his tour company, and the venue for payment.
Skrillex, to his credit, took it well, saying that his number one priority was making sure his fans were safe and having a good time.
Creed is a well known and well loved “dad rock” band, with tracks that have been featured in movies, played incessantly over the radio, and featured in at least one playlist we all had in our 20s. It’s reasonable to expect such an accomplished band to put on a fantastic show, right? The fans seemed to think so, which is why one 2003 concert was such a shock that it apparently required the response of a class action lawsuit!
In 2003, fans of Creed were shocked and a little horrified when frontman Scott Stapp stumbled out onstage, allegedly drunk and unsteady. He reportedly had severe trouble singing, and at one point actually passed out on stage, halting the concert. Needless to say, the 15,000 who showed up to watch creed play were incensed, some so much that they filed a lawsuit on behalf of everyone else at the venue!
They demanded a refund on the ticket costs (and hopefully an apology) for everyone who came to the show, as well as a refund on their parking, a total cost to the band of 2 Million dollars!
The judge, however, dismissed the case, saying that he was not “a rock critic” and that it would be a very bad idea for the arts to set a legal precedent for judging good art (or shows) from bad ones for the sake of lawsuits.
8 Lil’ Wayne
Even if you’re not into Rap, you probably know about Lil’ Wayne. From 2009-2014, he was a massive success in the rap world. Kids loved him, parents tolerated him, and fans were crazy about him. His explicit songs, whimsical lyrical twists and often hilarious rhymes shot him to the top of the charts.
In May of 2012, however, one fan wasn’t very happy with Wayne. Alfred Marino claims that, after getting into an argument with the famous rapper, one of Wayne’s ‘crew’ smashed him over the head with a skateboard! Marino had pulled out his phone with the intent of taking a picture of Lil’ Wayne after seeing him outside a shop in Los Angeles. After being told repeatedly to put his phone away (and being called a few nasty names) Marino alleges that Wayne’s bodyguard broke a skateboard over the back of his his head, knocking him out and leaving him with vertigo so severe he had to take medical leave from his job.
Marino was reportedly “disgusted” by Lil’ Wayne after the incident, and as a former fan, sued the rapper for the distressing and painful incident.
7 Justin Bieber
For a while, just about the most harmless celebrity you could imagine would have been Justin Bieber. The Canadian dreamboat was known for his sugar-pop love songs, big eyes, and irresistible charm. Girls of most any age swooned over him, spending tons of money on his merchandise, his albums, and most of all to see him live and in person at sold out concert venues.
At one such show in Oregon in 2010, Bieber set up an act for the concert that played off that very thing, climbing into a giant, heart-shaped metal gondola and being pulled over the crowd, leaning out to wave to the sea of fans below. In the crowd was Stacey Betts, a stay at home mother of five who had come to see the show with her daughter.
According to Betts, Bieber whipped the crowd of girls into such a frenzy with his waving that their screams reached “unsafe levels”, echoing off the metal heart and causing a “sound blast” that permanently damaged her hearing. She claims to have contracted tinnitus, a condition which causes constant, debilitating ringing in the ears. Betts also claims hearing loss and an overall lowered quality of life.
For her pain and suffering, Betts demanded a whopping 9 Million in damages. The case was ultimately dismissed.
6 Miley Cyrus
Many of us have fond memories of Miley Cyrus as her lovable, blonde alter ego Hannah Montana, the spunky country pop-star plastered across the Disney Channel schedule (and our hearts). The daughter of famous country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley was introduced to the entertainment business young and has stayed there pretty solidly ever since then. Those perfect wholesome beginnings have not, however, kept her out of trouble with the media, and with her fans.
In 2009, a photo surfaced on the web of Miley making a “Chinese eyes” face. Sitting with a group of her friends, Miley was seen in the photo pulling her eyes out to the sides along with others in the group. In fact, the only person in the photo NOT doing this was a young asian man who, it is alleged, was being mocked by the eye pulling.
The photo was deemed so offensive that it triggered a lawsuit. Los Angeles area woman Lucie J. Kim, alleging to have been personally damaged by the “discriminatory” photo, reportedly sued the Disney teen for $4 BILLION dollars! Not just on her own of course, but on behalf of the over 1 million Asian Pacific Islander’s living in the Los Angeles area.
For frame of reference on how out of this world a sum of 4 billion is, Miley’s entire net worth currently stands at only 160 million: roughly 4% of the requested pay.
Whether you’re a fan of Usher’s music or not, you’ve probably heard his name. From his involvement with Justin Bieber to being parodied on Family Guy, Usher has been around for a while, and in that time has made a name for himself as a talented musician and agent for up-and-comers.
It’s my unfortunate duty to tell you that Usher is also known for a less pleasant bit of publicity: a lawsuit filed against him in 2017 by three people who say that he gave them all herpes! Way to really screw it all up, Usher!
Quantasia Sharpton, an anonymous man, and another anonymous woman have banded together to sue the R&B star for allegedly giving them herpes (and they’re not talking about cold sores, either). Although he refused to make a public statement, Usher is known to have settled a similar lawsuit about the same allegations out of court for 1.2 million dollars in 2012. The unnamed plaintiff in the 2012 case is supposedly a former lover and celebrity stylist.
Sharpton and the anonymous duo sought unspecified damages and to have Usher cover their court fees.
4 Jessica Simpson
Serious question: can a paparazzo be considered a fan? They’re obsessive like fans, and they love to take pictures like fans, so for the purpose of this list, they probably count. With that in mind, let us look at the lawsuit against Jessica Simpson in 2018.
Outside a hotel in New York, Jessica Simpson was, as is often the case, ambushed by a paparazzo. A few photos were snapped, the paparazzo ran off, such is life for a famous person. However, a few hours later when the photo was posted to a rag site, Simpson copied it and pasted it onto her instagram. You’d think, being that it was a picture of her, she’d have the right. I mean, it’s literally her face!
According to the paparazzo and the media company that employed him, however, since the photo was taken by their employee, they own it, and Simpson actually stole it when she pasted it on her instagram.
The company alleges damages upwards of 20 thousand dollars. They may not legally own her face, but they sure are determined to make her pay for taking it back!
3 Snoop Dogg
Imagine for a minute you’re at a concert for your favorite artist. Elated at being near them, you rush the stage and go in for a hug. From the wings, as if waiting for you, several security guards swoop in and tackle you, causing major injuries.
That was the situation for Richard Monroe Jr, a Snoop Dogg fan violently tackled by security when he rushed the stage and attempted to hug Snoop in the middle of a concert. Monroe was knocked out and dragged offstage. He later woke on the ground backstage, his face swollen, lying in a pool of blood.
Monroe originally sued for 22 Million in damages, but was awarded just under 500 thousand after the jury determined that Snoop was not entirely to blame for the incident. Monroe also says that, after spending several days hanging out with Snoop during negotiations for a settlement, he feels very close with Snoop. He even went so far as to say that he felt happy when he saw Snoop in the courtroom, despite the circumstances.
2 Bon Jovi
As we all know, Bon Jovi is a very successful man. An ’80s star that still enjoys relevance and success today, Bon Jovi is clearly a man who needs no helping hands, ethical or otherwise. In fact, he’s still performing and touring to this day, and still putting out new music! So why would he need to steal a song?
According to one Samuel Bartley Steele, Bon Jovi did just that. In 2007, after releasing his song “I Love This Town”, Bon Jovi was hit with a stunning 4 Billion dollar lawsuit by Steele, who claims that Bon Jovi had somehow gotten his hands on Steele’s “country rock tribute” song to the Boston Red Sox (“Man I Really Love This Team”) and had passed it off to his record label as his own. At the trial, Steele even brought a musicologist to testify that they were the same song, only to be surprised when the musicologist testified that the songs were, in fact, nothing alike save for the words “love” and “this” in their respective titles.
His lawsuit was of course dismissed, but that didn’t stop him. Steele appealed the decision, hoping to take another run at the famous singer.
1 Taylor Swift
When you’re a pretty girl and your face is plastered across magazines, billboards, and social media almost constantly, you tend to attract a lot of strange people. Most are harmless, simply adoring fans who vie for your attention with gifts, stunts, and social media campaigns. What do you do, however, when you manage to attract a stalker?
In 2015, Taylor Swift had to answer this exact question as a fan went rogue and attempted to drag her into court to get her attention. Russell Greer, a long time Swift fan, wrote a song over the course of two years titled “I Get You, Taylor Swift” and send it to her agents, attempting to have it passed on to Swift herself. The agents were not allowed to pass the song on because of copyright concerns, and sent back polite but firm rejection letters.
Instead of taking it on the chin, Greer began sending mail and gifts directly to Swift’s family, begging them to give her the song. When that failed, he tried a new tactic: suing her to the tune of 7 thousand dollars for both neglect of duty and emotional distress. At first, it was couched simply as an attempt to get her attention, but when the lawsuit was dismissed and Greer, through statements made in the motion, found that Swift’s family considered his efforts “troubling” and “invasive”, Greer became openly hostile, and sued her a second time, this time for 50 Million, in another attempt to force her to acknowledge him.
Yikes! Let’s hope no other girls ever catch his eye quite like poor Taylor!