Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I Remember Kia Vaughn. She Was a Ho. Fo' Sho.

Don Imus has reached a settlement with CBS for an undisclosed sum (he was threatening to sue for $120 million) and now Rutgers center Kia Vaughn wants in on the action.

Vaughn is suing Imus for slander and defamation of character, claiming that she was "humiliated, embarrassed, and publicly mocked" by Don Imus's comment that the Rutgers basketball team was a bunch of "nappy-headed hos." I would have thought that being famous would have been a prerequisite for a defamation suit, but apparently it is not. What is required for slander however is that the statement be either expressly stated or implied to be factual. I'll admit that I'm not a Don Imus listener, but I guess the guy makes quite an impression, because according to the lawsuit:

"The ... false, defamatory, sexually denigrating and slanderous statements and comments against the women athletes of said basketball team were heard, believed and understood by millions of listeners ... as factual pronouncements concerning the character, chastity and reputation of the plaintiff."

Stupid me, I just thought it was an unfunny joke. But like I said, I'm not an Imus listener. And a factual pronouncement concerning her chastity because Imus used the word "ho?" Really. Even if you are dim-witted enough to believe that Imus was literally calling her a whore, wouldn't you have to realize it was facetious in light of its absurdity. I mean, a women's basketball player having sex with a man? Whoever heard of such a thing?!

It doesn't look like other people really took Imus' statements to be factual either. Kia is a member of the USA basketball team, and has an extensive bio and survey available. In it, I've learned that KIA stands for "Killer Instinct Always," she wants to play in the WNBA, and she's afraid of clowns. At no time does it mention her head's propensity to get nappy nor an inclination towards hoin' it up, so I guess Team USA didn't really think it impacted her character.

Now if they are somehow able to claim that this was presented as factual information, then it would also be incumbent upon them to prove the claim was false. This is where it could get fun, as the defense could call to the stand an expert witness in the field of hos- Snoop Dogg. During the fallout of the Imus situation, Snoop defended his use of the word "ho" by explaining that:

"We're talking about hos that's in the 'hood...that's trying to get a n**ga for his money."

Oh oh. So maybe his use of the word "ho" wasn't so far off, afterall.

To be fair, I should not be directing all of my ridicule towards Kia Vaughn for this lawsuit. She is afterall just a 20 year-old college student who is certainly susceptible to the sales-pitch of a greedy, fame-hungry lawyer. The lawyer in this case is Richard B. Ancowitz. Would it surprise you to learn that Mr. Ancowitz specializes in automotive litigation? I guess he was too busy chasing ambulances to have seen The People Vs Larry Flynt where we all learned that we enjoy certain 1st amendment protection when it comes to parody and absurd comments. I could write that Richard Ancowitz paid his way through the Brooklyn Law School by strangling hookers on video and selling the tapes on the black market and not be guilty of libel- because everyone knows that my snuff film collection doesn't go beyond 1990 and Mr. Ancowitz graduated from the Brooklyn Law School in 1982. So how could I possibly know? Whether he was making snuff films or hustling blowjobs on the corner of Court St. and Jorelemon...I really have no way of knowing with any degree of certainty.

On the bright side, if Vaughn does win this suit, then it establishes a precedent for Randy Moss v Joe Buck, Terrell Owens v Chris Berman, and Vince Young v Merrill Hoge. That could be highly entertaining.

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