Aretha Franklin is prepping a $10 million lawsuit against a satirical website that circulated a fake fight story involving the Queen of Soul and Patti LaBelle.
News Nerd claimed LaBelle was arrested after a physical altercation with Franklin in Atlanta last month. In response, Franklin said that she had “never heard anything crazier,” seemingly unaware that all of the stories on the site are fake, and may not have warranted a rebuttal.
The 72-year-old icon now says the story was “not presented as satire or humor,” in a statement through her rep, Gwendolyn Quinn. “It was presented as a serious news story intended to depict me in a slanderous and derogatory way — defamation of character,” she said.
However, Franklin may have trouble proving that the site had malicious intent in targeting her, specifically, since Taylor Swift, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Beyoncé, Michael Vick and Leonardo DiCaprio have all been the focus of fake stories.
Although the site hasn’t responded to Franklin’s allegations, it is doing a little damage control. The original Franklin/LaBelle post has been edited to include the disclaimer found on the bottom of News Nerd’s homepage, “The stories posted on the News Nerd are for entertainment purposes only.”
The writer’s name has also been removed from the story.