UPDATE: Frank Ocean Successfully Defeats Estranged Father in $14.5 Million Libel Suit


Grammy-award winning singer Frank Ocean and his father Calvin Cooksey have been in a legal battle for most of the year.

In February, Cooksey filed a lawsuit against his son claiming Ocean smeared his “good name” online.  He referenced when Ocean posted to his Tumblr account last summer following the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando.

In the note, Ocean wrote an anecdotal story about a time his father used a gay slur towards a waitress at a restaurant.

“I was six years old when I heard my dad call our transgender waitress a faggot as he dragged me out a neighborhood diner saying we wouldn’t be served because she was dirty,” the note reads.

Cooksey claimed Ocean’s note was completely false and that he “published these falsehoods for the financial success of Defendant’s new album Blonde, and to ruin his father.”  Cooksey decided to sue his son for libel, seeking $14.5 million in damages.

However, he had his work cut out for him. Proving Ocean committed libel and lied in his Tumblr note would be very difficult. In a defamation case, the plaintiff must prove four elements:

1. The statement was false.
2. The victim was injured by the statement.
3. The statement was made to a third person or lots of people.
4. The defamatory statement was not confidential.

According to U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson, Cooksey failed to meet the necessary elements to make his defamation claim.

“Based upon other deficiencies in the plaintiff’s case, the judgment has to be for the defendant,” Judge Wilson said.

Ocean attended the daylong trial with his attorney Keith G. Bremer but swiftly left after the verdict was read.  Even though the judge ruled in the singer’s favor, Bremer told Law360 that the whole process was very difficult for his client.

“I’m happy he can put it behind him,” Bremer said.


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