Two really cool things are lawsuits and celebrities, so it’s basically just simple math that combining them would yield ridiculously awesome results. Whether they are the plaintiffs or defense, celebrities are consistently entertaining when they become involved in legal matters. Although basically any lawsuit involving a celebrity is guaranteed to be entertaining, not all cases are created equal. Here are 15 of the most ridiculous celebrity lawsuits of all time.
Courtney Love vs. American Express
It is an exercise in futility to try to create any kind of list that contain the words “ridiculous” and “celebrity” without mentioning Courtney Love at least once, so it’s best to just get her out of the way. American Express sued Courtney Love for $350,000 for charges and unpaid fees that she managed to rack up on her AmEx Gold card. It seemed like an open and shut case, but the ever-wily Love had a few tricks left up her sleeve. Love counter-sued American Express, claiming that the charges were actually linked to a “massive” number of cards that the company had fraudulently issued in her name without telling her. Talk about a game-changer! Why would those jerks at AmEx do that to poor Courtney Love? It seems outside the realm of plausibility that a relatively reputable credit card issuer would issue thousands of cards with Courtney Love’s name on them in some sort of nefarious effort to besmirch her good name and destroy her credit rating, but obviously Love wouldn’t lie about such a thing, so it must have happened. Shame on you American Express, shame on you.
Lindsay Lohan vs. E-Trade
The E-Trade talking baby commercials are pretty creepy and not very funny, so it’s no wonder that most people get such a kick out of them. But there’s definitely at least one person who has a bone to pick with these beloved advertisements: Lindsay Lohan. In March 2010, Lohan filed a lawsuit against E-Trade for using “her name and characterization” without her consent. This kind of makes sense because Lindsay Lohan is like these commercials in that she is omnipresent, annoying and horrible, but apparently what she was objecting to was the fact that one of the babies was named “Lindsay” and referred to as a “milkalohic.” Furthermore, Lohan’s lawyer argued that her client has the same kind of one-name recognition as celebrities like Oprah and Madonna, perhaps even Bono. Really? Realistically, Oprah takes dumps with more one-name recognition than his client. Madonna would too, but Kabbalah forbids women from pooping.
Elvis Presley Enterprise vs. Some Psycho
In this lawsuit-happy world of ours, even deceased celebrities are not safe from the long arm of justice. Representatives of Elvis Presley’s estate were taken aback when a man from Fort Worth sued them for lying about Elvis being dead. Their shocking secret had finally been discovered! What were they going to do? The man’s case was air-tight: he had irrefutable evidence that the King had faked his death and in order to finally be able to live a normal life. The evidence cited? The man claimed that he had been having frequent telephone conversations with Elvis for many years now. The judge ruled in favor of the man from Fort Worth, justly awarded him several million dollars, and Elvis came out of hiding to embark on a triumphant comeback tour. Or no, wait, actually the case was thrown out of court because this guy was a total nutcase and Elvis is TOTALLY DEAD.
Johnny Carson vs. Here’s Johnny Portable Toilets
There should be some sort of law that protects people who are awesome from being sued by celebrities, because whoever the guy was who came up with the “Here’s Johnny Portable Toilets” definitely deserves to be protected by that law. In 1976, some guy came up with the idea to sell portable toilets that played on the famous catchphrase associated with Carson’s tenure on The Tonight Show. To promote the product, this brilliant, brilliant man added the tagline “The World’s Foremost Commodian.” This is way more effort than necessary to market a line of portable toilets (these things practically sell themselves) but who are we to judge genius? Sadly, despite being a so-called comedian, Carson didn’t find being associated with portable lavatories very amusing, and he sued the company. In what looked like an amazing victory of the little guy, Carson lost the suit when the court ruled that since Carson’s image wasn’t used he was not being defamed and there was no evidence of any invasion of privacy. High fives all around! Unfortunately, Carson won the suit on an appeal, which is why we live in a terrible world where portable toilets provide relief, but sadly never a chuckle.
Elizabeth Taylor vs. Her Gardener
Willem Van Muyden was employed by Elizabeth Taylor as her gardener. He probably did a pretty good job gardening because you don’t usually get a cushy gardening job with Liz Taylor if you aren’t a real whiz with the pruning shears. But when you are gardener for the stars, you are expected to go beyond the call of duty, and this is where Van Muyden apparently fell short. Van Muyden claims that he was let go when he refused to have sex with Taylor’s butler, which is a very reasonable request to make of your gardener (who hasn’t asked their gardener to have sex with their butler at least once or twice?) Allegedly, Taylor’s butler was also being employed as her lover, but he was having trouble getting it up for Taylor and decided that perhaps having sex with the gardener would help him get aroused so that he could fulfill his employer’s sexual needs. The real problem here is that the butler obviously prefers having sex with men, which can sometimes, but not always, be a big impediment to having sex with Liz Taylor. Maybe Taylor should have just hired a butler who wasn’t gay because there are probably quite a few of them out there. In her defense, Taylor claims that Van Muyden was fired for employing illegal immigrants, which seems like a much more plausible scenario than the one claimed by Van Muyden. But celebrities are all crazy so let’s not discount Van Muyden’s claims just yet. Alas, we’ll never know the real cause for termination since the case was settled out of court.
Steven Seagal vs. Kayden Nguyen
Steven Seagal is widely known for being a consummate professional as an actor, and a man with a spotless record with regards to his personal life. Beloved by his fans and co-stars alike, it came as quite a shock to us all when earlier this year a former executive assistant of Seagal’s filed a lawsuit claiming he had sexually assaulted her numerous times, and that Steven was engaged in sex trafficking. This bombshell took the world by storm, and will definitely be a front-runner for “story of the year” come December. The alleged victim, Kayden Nguyen, claimed that Seagal had two Russian “attendants” on staff who were available to sexually service him 24/7. If this is true Ms. Nguyen, then why would Mr. Seagal need to sexually assault you? Were the “attendants” visiting family in Russia, or what? Something doesn’t quite add up here. Nguyen claims this was indeed the case, and that on numerous occasions Seagal pawed at her breasts, forced her hands down his pants and instructed her to take illegal pills. This doesn’t sound like a very fun job (except for maybe the pills part), so it’s no wonder that Nguyen eventually decided enough was enough and got the heck out of there. She is suing for over a million dollars in damages. Seagal’s legal team claims that Nguyen is simply a drug-addicted and disgruntled ex-employee and that her claims have no basis in reality.
Allen Heckard vs. Michael Jordan and Phil Knight
It is really annoying when you look a lot like a celebrity because people constantly point it out to you, thinking they are the first to notice the resemblance. It is also literally the lowest form of interaction that can occur between two human beings, so next time you’re thinking of doing it, don’t. Luckily, most of us only suffer from a passing resemblance and aren’t freakish dead-ringers. Such is not the case for poor Allen Heckard, who suffers from a debilitating condition called “holy crap, this guy looks exactly like Michael Jordan!” Heckard allegedly suffered from a constant barrage of autograph seekers who mistakenly identified him as the former basketball star, and decided he’d had it up to here with this nonsense. His solution: to sue Jordan and president of Nike Phil Knight (for promoting the Jordan brand) for $832 million dollars. You’re probably not going to win this one Allen Heckard, but best of luck to you because obviously you have suffered greatly in life and the only acceptable restitution is getting paid ridiculous amounts of money for basically looking like a relatively handsome athlete. Why don’t you just pretend to be Michael Jordan and pick up chicks at bars and stuff or charge stupid people for your worthless signature? Oh right, because you’re an idiot!
Evelyn Lozada vs. Vanessa Davis
Apparently there is a reality show called “Basketball Wives” that airs on VH1. What a great idea for a show! It undoubtedly falls under the category of “must-see TV.” But now one of the “stars” of the show is having her awesome reputation dragged through the mud by a supposedly disgruntled contestant who didn’t make the cut during casting for the show. Evelyn Lozada (ex-fiancee of NBA star Antoine Walker) is claiming that Vanessa Davis (former wife of Ricky Davis, also an NBA player) is smearing her reputation on the world wide web. Davis allegedly took to a gossip blog after failing to be selected for the show, and called Lozada a “high end prostitute,” “drunkard,” “hoe-ass” and claimed that Lozada neglects her daughter. A hoe-ass is a pretty horrible and slanderous thing to say about someone. Lozada should totally sue Davis for calling her a hoe-ass on the internet for at least $15,000 because that would be a very reasonable sum for saying mean things about someone online. Which is exactly what she’s doing. VH1 might want to make a reality show about her called “Internet Justice: Lozada Style.” It would definitely be “must-see TV.”
Sacha Baron Cohen vs. Richelle Olson
Sacha Baron Cohen is pretty annoying sometimes, and his schtick is getting (already is?) very tiresome, but that doesn’t mean he deserves to be sued for it. Richelle Olson believes differently. Olson sued Cohen and NBC for $25,000 after filming for Cohen’s film “Bruno” disrupted her bingo game and caused her “emotional duress.” Initially, Olson also claimed that she had suffered “the brain bleeds” after she attempted to remove a microphone from Cohen while sitting in her wheelchair. Things were looking bleak for Sacha Baron Cohen because when you give a woman in a wheelchair “the brain bleeds” you wind up looking like a real big jerk, and jurors typically never side with the jerkier party. Luckily, Cohen’s crack legal defense team had an ace up their sleeves: since the alleged event occurred during the filming of a movie, they were able to provide reels upon reels of footage that proved that Cohen never came into physical contact with Olson. Olson lost the case, and was forced to pay Cohen’s legal fees, which came to $17,000. Ouch.
Anne Burrell vs. Her Former Employees
Celebrity chef Anne Burrell is famous for cooking food and being on shows that are about cooking food. But even being a super-cool celebrity chef doesn’t give you carte blanche to verbally abuse your employees — well, not yet at least. Anne Burrell obviously didn’t realize this, because former employees of Burrell’s filed a lawsuit against her for discrimination. The plaintiffs allege that Burrell called them derogatory terms like “slutty,” “saggy,” “ho,” “whore,” and “stupid dumb whore idiot.” She also insinuated that one of the women was “f[..]ing” a male co-worker when she generously allowed him to stay with her temporarily. Burrell, ever the fashionista, also helpfully pointed out to one of her employees that her “jeans are slutty” while said employee was wearing the restaurant’s mandatory uniform. Obviously Burrell is as witty as she is awesome at cooking.
Miley Cyrus vs. Asian-Pacific Islanders
Funny faces are hilarious. That’s just a fact, and it’s not up for debate. But sometimes they can be too hilarious and veer into the territory of “horribly offensive” or even “racist” and those are definitely territories you generally want to avoid. However, celebrities are known for their wanton disregard for the simple rules that govern the world of us plebians, willfully ignoring the simple social conventions that make living in this world semi-tolerable. Take pop-idol Miley Cyrus for instance. Miley and her crazy group of friends were posing for a photo and decided to make some silly faces, which is a totally normal thing for 16 year olds to do. But the choice of silly face was an unwise one: Cyrus and her merry band of pranksters decided to pull their eyes into a slanted position, a face that every grade-schooler knows is meant to offensively portray Asians. When the photo surfaced, a Los Angeles resident named Lucie J. Kim filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of all Asian-Pacific Islanders residing in Los Angeles County, seeking damages of $4 billion. I bet that funny face doesn’t seem so funny now, does it Miley? Cyrus denied any wrong-doing, claiming she was ignorant of any racial connotations the gesture held. Now you are a racist and a liar, Miley.
Carrie Prejean vs. The Miss USA Pageant
Miss California Carrie Prejean is probably best remembered for her role as a spokeswoman for homophobia. Prejean famously stated her religious opposition to “opposite marriage” during the Miss USA competition, infuriating most Liberals and delighting all the horrible homophobic assholes of the world. While the Miss USA officials didn’t necessarily outright object to Prejean’s comments, they didn’t look particularly favorably on a set of photos of Prejean modeling teensy lingerie. The officials fired Prejean, citing the photos as a breach of contract, to which Prejean responded with a suit of her own claiming “religious discrimination.” Hypocritically, she openly discriminates against millions and millions of individuals based on their sexual orientation. The Miss USA officials then counter-sued, requesting that Prejean pay them back the $5,200 they had given Prejean for breast enhancement surgery. Too bad she never received any money for empathy enhancement surgery so she could stop being an awful and ignorant homophobe who appears in ads for the National Organization for Marriage.
Men At Work vs. The Guy Who Wrote the “Kookaburra” Song
Men At Work are beloved for their perennial 80’s music compilation classic “Land Down Under.” The jaunty ditty is full of references to the band’s native Australia, and sports a delightful video where the band dances in the desert and does other things we associate with Australia, like eat Vegemite sandwiches. Despite never following the song up with another hit, the royalties they received probably afforded the members a pretty cushy lifestyle and things were pretty darn good. Then in 2009, some guy on an Australian game show made the startling discovery that the flute solo that plays at the beginning of the song bears an uncanny resemblance to the other classic Australian song “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree.” The song is legally still owned by Larrikin Music Publishing, which promptly sued Men At Work, EMI and Sony — and won. The flute solo is such an inconsequential and brief part of the song, and since nobody ever noticed the resemblance to “Kookaburra” for 28 years, you’d think a pretty good argument could be made in favor of Men At Work — but you’d be totally wrong, so it’s a good thing you’re not a lawyer!
Neil Young vs. David Geffen
Neil Young has long been known for being idiosyncratic. Part of his appeal lies in his unpredictability — each album stylistically different yet somehow remaining quintessentially “Neal.” But in 1984, after Young was tempted away from his longtime label, Reprise Records, and signed to David Geffen’s Geffen label, he suddenly found himself caught up in a legal entanglement. After releasing a string of idiosyncratic albums that failed to be big sellers for his new label, David Geffen took Neil to court, suing him for intentionally making “uncharacteristic and uncommercial” music. During his time at Geffen, Young released an electronic-tinged record with Trans, a rockabilly album on Everybody’s Rocking, and a country album with Old Ways. To be fair, these albums do suck (except for Trans, that one is actually pretty good) but it’s still ridiculous to sue Neil Young for not making “Neil Young music” because by definition anything that Neil Young releases is “Neil Young music.” The lawsuit was eventually dropped, and Young returned to Reprise in 1988.
Ron Livingston vs. Some Nerd on Wikipedia
Celebrities: they’re just like us. Take Ron Livingston for example. Ron was surfing the web (just like you’re doing right now!), perusing the Wikipedia entry about him when he made a startling discovery: the entry below his name referred to him as “A Gay.” What a ridiculous assertion; everybody knows Ron Livingston is quite the man-about-town and a big hit with the ladies. But Livingston could not let this barb directed as his sexuality go unpunished, and he quickly filed a lawsuit against the Wikipedia user who committed the offense. But one little snag stood between Livingston and sweet, sweet justice: Wikipedia has thousands of users who can anonymously edit entries at will, so tracking down the identity of the culprit would prove to be difficult, even for an obviously internet-savvy celeb like Ron Livingston. Rather than let the matter drop and not bother with a virtually un-winnable and frivolous lawsuit, Ron pushed forward with the lawsuit, citing “John Doe” as the defendant. Good work Ron, best of luck to you on this awesome lawsuit! In the meantime, the allegation that Livingston is “A Gay” has been removed from his Wikipedia page (someone please put it back).