Actress, author and pop culture celebrity, Amber Rose has been accused of slander because of comments she made regarding owning Ace of Diamonds. The alleged owners, SKWS Enterprises, intend to sue for one million dollars in damages.
South Philadelphia’s own Amber Rose (born Amber Levoncheck) isn’t simply famous because of the famous men she’s dated. The bald beauty has smashed the clock on her five minutes of fame, parlaying her celebrity into a successful modeling profession, a budding acting career, an in-demand author, and even a modern feminist activist.
For all her contributions to pop culture, Amber received the Vanguard Award last Wednesday at the All Def Movie Awards. The awards show is Russell Simmons’ emphatic answer to the often diversity-impaired Oscar Awards (see hashtag #oscarssowhite). While on stage to receive her award, the proud and reflective Rose exclaimed:
“I was a dancer, I was an exotic dancer, I was stripper for a very long time. Best time of my life, by the way. I had the time of my life. But do y’all know Ace of Diamonds? Well, I bought it. So this is to every girl out there, every stripper, ya’ll can one day be on stage with Russell Simmons, receiving an award.”
The declaration put a exclamation point on Rose’s career. The former stripper (at 15 years old no less) now allegedly owned one of the most famous gentleman’s clubs in Los Angeles. The clip was instantly disseminated to blogs and news sites all over the web. However, at least one organization did not appreciate the moment. SKWS Enterprise, the organization that leases out the building in which Ace of Diamonds is located, plans to sue Amber Rose for slander to the tune of one million dollars. SKWS claims to own Ace of Diamonds and calls Rose’s statement “unequivocally false”.
It is a bit misleading to call Ace of Diamonds a strip club in the traditional sense. One look at Ace of Diamonds‘ Yelp page and the reader can see that the club is only open on Monday nights. This is because Ace of Diamonds is more of an event then a night club. In fact, the building where the event takes place, located in West Hollywood, is used for other events unrelated to Ace of Diamonds throughout the rest of the week.
Nevertheless, SKWS claims to be the rightful owners of Ace of Diamonds. The company claims that Rose misrepresented that she owns the company to the public, which caused significant damages to their organization. Claiming slander is one thing, proving it is another. To do so, the plaintiff must thoroughly prove the elements of slander in a civil court.
According to California Civil Code 46, Slander is defined as “a false and unprivileged publication, orally uttered,” that does one or more of the following:
(1) “Charges any person with a crime . . .” Civ. Code § 46(1).
(2) “Tends directly to injure him in respect to his office, profession, trade or business, either by imputing to him general disqualification in those respects which the office or other occupation peculiarly requires, or by imputing something with reference to his office, profession, trade, or business that has a natural tendency to lessen its profits.” Civ. Code § 46(3).
(3) “[B]y natural consequence, causes actual damage.” Civ. Code § 46(5).
SKWS contends that as a result of Rose’s comments, several investors have pulled their money from the club, apparently upset that SKWS did not disclose the sale. They state that DJs, dancers as well as bartenders have quit the club due to the revelation. They also claim a significant loss in business. In essence, they are contending that Rose’s allegedly false statement has severely and irrefutably harmed the Ace of Diamonds brand name. Keep in mind that the civil lawsuit was leaked to the media a mere 48 hours after Rose uttered the words on stage.
The main defense of slander or libel is “truth” of the allegation. Rose is banking on the fact that the truth will set her free (of liability). Gotham City Esq has exclusively obtained documentation showing that Amber and her business partner Jason Robinson formed a corporation called Ace of Diamonds, Inc. The partners filed for a trademark on that name in December of 2016. They also trademarked the abbreviation, “AoD.” The documents for the trademark request describe the company as “entertainment services in the nature of live dance performances” and “gentlemen’s clubs featuring exotic dancing.”
Gotham City Esq sat down for an exclusive interview with Jason Robinson. During the candid conversation, Robinson attempted to clear a few things up. “Ace of Diamonds can move itself anywhere, it doesn’t have to be in one particular building.” Robinson explained “Once we put the brand and the lights up, it’s like putting up the Bat Symbol. Ace of Diamonds has its own movement and fan base, we own that and we can take it anywhere.” As proof of ownership, Robinson mentions that, “[SKWS] never tried to claim the name before this, I’ve always operated the website, I operate the Instagram page, I operate the Facebook page.”
During our exclusive interview, Robinson added that he and the owners of SKWS had done lucrative business for six years. Therefore, Robinson felt blindsided once he got news of the lawsuit. The next logical question is: when did the relationship go sour? Robinson has an idea. “When I decided to leave [the building], there was no problem. I informed them I will still be using the name [Ace of Diamonds], they said ‘cool’. But once they found out that Amber was going to be doing business with me and not them, that’s when they got mad.” Ultimately, it is Robinson’s belief that this seems to be SKSW’s hurt feelings in a tug-of-war over a marketable, celebrity (Rose) which resulted in a frivolous lawsuit. It is important to note that as of press time neither Robinson nor Rose has been served with the lawsuit. Similarly, no copy of the petition can be found in Los Angeles’ public records online.
To be certain, a companies reputation and commercial viability can be the single most vital asset that it possesses. There can be a tremendous effect on public opinion if false statements travel swiftly like a contagious disease through the internet. It is always prudent to be protective of one’s reputation. However, it can be foolish to overreact. Before legal action is undertaken, truth has to be carefully examined. Also, the defending party in a slander or libel case should realize that historically, it is very difficult for plaintiffs to win in most instances. The facts and damages of each alleged incident must be examined by qualified legal experts before a decision is made to turn for relief in the courts.
Until a lawsuit is filed, no one should be surprised if Amber and Jason elect to host parties across the country under the Ace of Diamonds name.