50 Cent is fighting for his freedom to call news stories he objects to “fake news” after he was sued for defamation after using a similar phrase.
The rapper, real name Curtis Jackson, is being sued by bosses at the website HipHopDX.com, who are seeking $3 million in damages after he described their firm as a “bogus news outlet” following a publication of a story alleging he had falsely claimed to have sold the trademark to the phrase “Get the Strap” to Bellator MMA, a mixed martial arts promotion.
Documents obtained by U.S. website The Blast show the hip-hop star’s lawyers are seeking to have the company’s defamation suit dismissed on the grounds it threatens his freedom of speech.
His legal team claim the lawsuit is, “an affront to the fundamental protections to free speech by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”
They add that if the case is allowed to proceed, it will “open the floodgates” by allowing news organisations to sue celebrities who use terms like “fake news” to criticise stories, including U.S. President Donald Trump.
HipHopDX bosses claim 50 has tarnished their reputation by telling his millions of social media followers they did not report the truth.
The In Da Club rapper says that their story was wrong as he and Bellator MMA executives were in fact working on a deal to obtain the trademark to “Get the Strap” – a phrase he has developed into a meme. The presiding judge is yet to rule on the case.