The Real Story Behind the Houston Ex-Porn Star Suing Facebook for $1 Billion

Looking fabulous, with and without Ron Jeremy.
Looking fabulous, with and without Ron Jeremy.
Facebook screenshot

In late August, a former adult film star living in Houston gained notoriety for filing a $1 billion lawsuit against Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, accusing him of allowing libelous comments about her to remain on the site.

The woman, who calls herself Paree Latiejira and who performed in the early 1990s under the name "Lady Paree," filed the lawsuit herself in a Houston federal court, claiming that commenters accused her of being a biological male, an allegation she claims has dogged her for decades.

The suit alleges that Zuckerberg has published "false statements that she was born a man," even though he had "actual knowledge that Latiejira is a woman."

These defamatory statements subjected her to "public ridicule, risk of physical injury, " and death threats, the suit claims. 

Latiejira previously sued her former producer, pornographer Mark Carriere, along similar lines.

That suit, filed in Lake County, Indiana, in 1995, claimed that Carriere's company, Leisure Time Entertainment, released a video in 1993 titled Amazing Black Sex Changes, featuring Latiejira. ("Lady Paree" is also the name of a thoroughbred racehorse from New Zealand, although we're pretty sure they're not related). 

Prior to that video's release, she claimed, she earned $500,000 in ten months, for acting gigs as well as club appearances, signings and other promotions. For a short while, it seemed that she was one of the most prominent African-American porn starlets, with signature long nails and gold-dyed pubic hair. She claimed to have worked with some of the biggest names in the business, like Ron Jeremy and Dave Hardman. (This partial videography lists her birth date as 1971.)

She claimed in that suit that the false implication that she was a biological male torpedoed her film career — her gigs immediately dried up — and even led a dangerous, transphobic fan to slash her face with a knife. Her lawyers somehow managed to wrangle an Indiana University sociology professor to estimate that, if Amazing Black Sex Changes were never released, she would have earned $200,000 a year for six years. 

In 2010, an Indiana judge awarded her $2.5 million, but Carriere's lawyers fought to have the judgment vacated, and the parties settled out of court for an undisclosed amount in 2011. (Carriere declined to comment for this story).

That suit — and her purported multi-million-dollar windfall — appears to be the impetus for the Facebook lawsuit, which garnered headlines for its abject absurdity. But the real story seems to be "Paree Latiejira" herself — and who she really is. 

Although she claimed in both lawsuits to have been born in March 1975, making her 41 years old, Harris County District Clerk criminal court records suggest otherwise. The records list more than a dozen aliases for Latiejira, stretching back to 1980, and tend to peg her date of birth as 1962. She does not appear to have been charged in Houston as "Paree Latiejira" prior to 1999.

Most of the convictions only resulted in a few days' jail time, and include prostitution, assault, theft and trespassing  — and that's just in Houston. She also pleaded no contest to theft charges in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1992, where her birth year is listed as 1969. 

Dallas County District Clerk records show that she was charged in 1987 with felony burglary of habitation. According to a police report, she broke into a woman's apartment and stole a suitcase full of clothes. A witness took down Latiejira's license plate number, which police traced to the name "Ninna Barclay." An arrest warrant was issued under that name — which she had used to buy her car — but she was subsequently indicted under the name "Sonja Vyett Wright," with the middle name later changed to "Yvett." Her birth year was listed as July 1962, which appears to be the correct date.

After her arrest, she negotiated a plea deal for five years' probation, but skipped the formal sentencing hearing. Records show that she appeared before a Dallas County District Judge in 1998 and was sentenced to five years' probation. But a Dallas prosecutor in 2000 filed a motion to revoke her probation after she was charged in Harris County with assault and using a false name and birth date to obtain a credit card. In that motion, she's identified as "Sonja Yvett Wright AKA Paree Latiejira." 

Lady Paree has a message for haters.
Lady Paree has a message for haters.
YouTube screenshot

She was sentenced to 180 days in jail on the assault charge and 20 days on the fraud charge. It appears that, before she could be transferred to Dallas on the probation revocation matter, she was convicted of credit card abuse in Harris County, under the name Sonja Yvette Wright. She was sentenced to nine months in state jail. 

Harris County District Clerk records also show that, in 2003, she pleaded guilty to engaging in organized crime, tampering with a government record and theft. The sentences ranged from 2-8 years, to run concurrently. According to court records, she had obtained a Texas Department of Public Safety identification card in a cousin's name and set up fraudulent credit card accounts. And, according to a November 2002 Houston Chronicle article,  Latiejira and two associates extorted a U.S. Customs agent who met Latiejira through the classified ads:


"The agent contacted a woman, believed to be Latiejira, through a personal ad and met her one time, police spokesman John Cannon said. Three weeks later, a woman caller, claiming to be a lawyer, told the agent the first woman was a minor, and demanded money. The agent eventually paid $64,000, Cannon said."

From prison in Dayton, Texas, she set up a Jailmail.net prisoner profile page, giving her birth date as 1977. The profile states:

"I'm not into anything temporary. I'm only in jail for a short time in which I won't repeat ever. I've been in this lonely dump and I won't ever miss these lonely old jail walls again. Yes, I've made a mistake, oh, how I've paid for that mistake and now I'm correcting that mistake in which I'll be home very soon. So I'm looking to romance the stone with you. I'm looking for truth, kindness, warmth, a darling love."


She set up a similar profile on Inmate-connection.com, listing her birth year as 1979.

Latiejira was released from prison early, but despite her pledge to not backslide, she was sentenced to ten days in Harris County Jail in 2007 for possession of a fraudulent driver's license. Court records don't specify exactly why it was fraudulent, but her birth year on it was listed as 1975, while the birth year on her bonding information was given as 1962. 

In subsequent years, Latiejira was featured on escort sites. One, titled "Mega Adult Film Super Star Lady Paree," lists a menu of rates and services — an overnight stay would cost $25,000. (We crunched the numbers and must note that, at $350,000, a week-long engagement seems high. Seven individual overnights would only cost $175,000). 

We made repeated requests to Latiejira for comment, but the only response was a brief phone call, where she shouted, "You need to stop threatening me! 'Cause my lawyer's going to slap a suit on your ass. You need to stop fucking with me!"

When we attempted to reach the woman listed on the 2007 bonding records as her mother — records list the same address for both Latiejira and her mother —  we were impeded by a guy who declined to give his name, but called us "retarded." After confirming that he did indeed want that epithet memorialized, he suggested another quote: "Print that the guy said 'fuck you and your story and your company.'"

We're not certain why Latiejira's brief film career tanked, but including her in a niche video compilation called Amazing Black Sex Changes may not have helped. And in a YouTube video uploaded in 2008,  her voice cracks as she shows the side of her face where she claims the fan cut her so badly she needed 80 stitches. (In the Texas and Indiana lawsuits, she claims she required 150 stitches and three cosmetic surgeries.) 

Steeling herself, she warns any violent fans to keep their distance, saying she'll do what she needs to defend herself: “Come down to Houston, Texas. We do it like the Wild West. I got a permit to fuckin' carry…I'm gonna kill you, bitch. I'm gonna kill you down – I shot the fuckin' sheriff. Bitch, you gonna be dead.” (The video states that the footage was taken in Atlantic City, New Jersey). 

We wish Latiejira would have taken time to speak to us, because, all things considered, she seems to have lived a fascinating life. Something happened to derail her career, and if Leisure Time Products really did release a video that permanently pigeonholed her into a small market or somehow made her a pariah in the industry, it's awful. But suing Facebook does not seem like an appropriate response. 


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