Entertainment news outlet TMZ, which centers around celebrity-related legal drama, finds itself in a bit of its own legal trouble. TMZ is being sued for defamation by a man who alleges he was injured while seeking an autograph from legendary musician Iggy Pop. On Tuesday, Jason Leckrone filed suit in a circuit court in Michigan claiming that the incident began when he attempted to get an autograph from Iggy Pop after a 2016 concert but security “held the crowd back.” Leckrone collects autographs as a hobby.
At the time Pop was performing with “Queen of the Stone Age” singer and friend, Josh Homme. Homme arrived at the scene and according to The Wrap, “said something to the effect of — I am not signing autographs for you blood-sucking eBayers. I am tired of you making money off me but I will take photos with you.”
Leckrone was not too thrilled by Homme’s comments and proceeded to tell him that he benefitted from those “blood-sucking” fans who attended the concert.
After Leckrone told Homme he benefitted from the concertgoers, the lawsuit says, “the musician swore at him (Leckrone) between taking photos, and later “approached Plaintiff” and “was right in his face screaming profanities.” The lawsuit also claims that Homme, “intentionally and physically grabbed Plaintiff around the shoulders and neck area.”
So where does TMZ fit with this story? Well TMZ allegedly released a video of the altercation, posted with an article stating that Leckrone was involved in a “nasty name-calling exchange” with Homme.
The suit claims that “Those statements are untrue and cast Plaintiff in a false light.” Along with claiming defamation by TMZ, the suit also names Homme as a defendant and accuses him of assault and battery. As result of the alleged attack, Leckrone claims he has suffered “emotional distress, embarrassment, humiliation and psychological injuries.”
As for the defamation case against TMZ, Leckrone claims he suffered emotional distress, humiliation, mortification, embarrassment, sleeplessness and anxiety. Leckrone is seeking a judgment “in excess of $25,000.”
Defamation laws very from state-to-state, but there are normally some expected standards that make the laws similar no matter where you are. Generally speaking, in order to win your lawsuit, you must show that:
- Someone made a statement;
- that statement was published;
- the statement caused you injury;
- the statement was false; and
- the statement did not fall into a privileged category
Leckrone will not only have to prove TMZ’s statement to be untrue but he will also have to prove that the statement caused him emotional distress and injury.