Does Lindsay Lohan's Pitbull Lawsuit Stand A Chance?
Rocks Off remembers, distinctly, when our father told us as a young boy, "Don't shit where you eat, son."
That phrase stuck with us for over a decade. Dad gave lots of off-the-wall advice to us while he was alive. He once compared driving a stick-shift to making love to a woman when trying to teach us to drive, but it was that "shit where you eat" pearl of wisdom that never went away in our head.
We didn't know what it meant for years; it had no real place or relevance. Until we tried to shit where we ate. Not literally, but from the dating-multiple-ladies-who-live-close-to-our-home perspective. Sense revealed. Very applicable. Gift that keeps on giving.
The lyric, "I got it locked up, like Lindsay Lohan," on hip-hop sensation Pitbull's 2011 summer anthem "Give Me Everything," didn't inspire that kind of epiphany, but we can tell you that we were one of the two million people who bought the track on May 18, 2011 at 11:01 a.m. And that the line about the troubled childhood star turned courtroom poster child stood out to us the last three months.
Every time we heard "Give Me Everything," we highlighted that line in our mind, like a weird O.C.D. complex. We don't know why, but it was like we knew something would come of it.
Whether it was a manifestation, a cruel coincidence or we predicted the future, Lindsay did take issue with Pitbull's lyric and gave us another reason to tell people that we think we're psychic when we've had a few too many. You've probably heard that Lindsay Lohan is suing Pitbull for defamation for unspecified damage. As the lawsuit states, "by virtue of its wide appeal, condemnation, excoriation, disparaging or defamatory statements by the defendants about the plaintiff are destined to do irreparable harm to the plaintiff."
We find this case fascinating for different reasons than you might. You probably find it preposterous that someone whose own actions have literally defined her reputation as a cocky, dismissive, drug-induced courtroom regular - on whom we have a major crush - is suing someone for mentioning her widely-known legal standing on a rap track. We're past all that. We find it fascinating, because in the legal sense, it feels like it has absolutely no legs, and instead of obsessing "the what," we want to know "the why."
Why try to sue when you know it's true? Aside from the fact that Lindsay, probably like us, has grown suicidal over hearing a track that now haunts more than it entertains. From the club, to the radio, to your mom's car, to your grandma's humming, to doctor waiting rooms, "Everything" is everywhere.
But we're no lawyer, so we talked to one. Entertainment attorney Anthony Jones of the The Jones Firm in New York focuses his practice on representing both established and developing music acts, independent record labels, film producers, directors, writers and producers. He also sits on the board of the Afro-American Newspapers.
Rocks Off was trying to find legal precedent on a matter like this and we thought that hitting Mr. Jones with information on the case in which rapper Eminem's mom sued him for $10 million (but only got $25,000) for rapping about her parental skills in his music catalogue would, you know, show our legal savvy.
Uh, yeah. Not so much.
"The thing that differentiates that case from this one is we are talking about public and private figures," he schools us. "The mom in Eminem's case is really not a public figure. She's not out there with her own movies. She's brought into the limelight in that regard and she wants a private life.
"She has more standing, as opposed to someone like Lindsay Lohan. Her whole livelihood is her public image. You stepped into the public arena and that's what you wanted to do."
"The question is, 'Has the person volunteered themselves in a public arena or are they trying to remain private?'" continues Jones.
So what he's saying is that if Pitbull makes a song about Rocks Off's dad comparing common life activities, like driving stick shift, to making sweet love to a woman, and we sue him for it, we have have a better chance of cashing in than someone who is already in the public spotlight. Sweet.
It's true. Look at what Hole front woman Courtney Love had to pay Dawn Simorangkir - not exactly a household name - for calling the clothing designer an "asswipe nastly lying hosebag thief" via Twitter in 2009. Love forked out $430,000.
But wait a minute here. Just because we're a celebrity and volunteered ourselves in that life doesn't mean people can go around saying untrue things about us.
"Generally, in these kinds of lawsuits, you have to prove malice," Jones further explains. "On Pitbull's side is that it's the truth. She was locked up."
You damn skippy. So why file a lawsuit that most likely doesn't have a chance?
"I think, with Lindsay Lohan, she's trying to send a message that she's not up for all the jokes anymore," says Jones. "She trying to send a message, 'Come off the jokes. I'm trying to get it together.'"
That doesn't sound entirely unreasonable. And she is taking what people are saying to her seriously. MTV reports:
Lohan filed a similar suit - reportedly seeking $100 million in damages - against financial services company E-Trade last year after the company aired a Super Bowl commercial that referred to a baby as "That milkaholic Lindsay." The suit was withdrawn in September, with E-Trade reportedly paying Lohan "a confidential sum."
But Pitbull shouldn't follow E-Trade's lead in settling.
"My general opinion is to fight it," says Jones. "See how much she wants to fight it. At the end of the day, you get this before the court, it's based on the law alone. It's going to get thrown out."
It sounds like Pitbull has got this lawsuit locked up like...uh, we'll just stop right there.
Email Rolando Rodriguez at rolandorodriguezjr22 (at) gmail (dot) com.
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