General News

Queen of Soul files $50 million lawsuit

Nov 29, 2001 | 11:47am EST

Thirty-four years later and the Queen of Soul is still searching for a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Aretha Franklin filed a $50 million lawsuit against the Star tabloid Wednesday, claiming the paper ran a fabricated article on the singer's battle with alcohol abuse, Reuters reports.

The article, "Aretha Franklin Drinking Herself Into Grave," ran in the December 2000 issue of Star and alleged that the singer's alcohol abuse was threatening her career and health.

Apparently, the soul diva was shocked and surprised to hear that alcohol abuse had caused her to cancel concert dates. Franklin's lawyers say the whole story was made up. Worse, says Barry Langberg who is a member of Franklin's legal team, the story "impaired [Franklin's] ability to pursue her chosen profession" because it "raised questions in the minds of many venues as to whether she was reliable or not."

Franklin, the first female inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, did get the paper to print a retraction--sort of. Though the Star wrote what they considered a retraction, Langberg said it just exacerbated the situation, fanning the flames of the original incendiary story.

Star publisher and tabloid giant American Media refused to issue a statement on the case to Reuters.

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