“Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast member Phaedra Parks has filed a $30 million lawsuit against Vibe Holdings, which operates Vibe.com, Uptown Magazine, and Augustus Publishing, saying the outlet has published lies about her to generate interest in a book.
The lawsuit, filed this week, demands a jury trial, $5 million in compensatory and $25 million in punitive damages, and retractions.
“While Plaintiff recognizes the importance of the role of the media in reporting on public figures, Defendant and other members of the media are not granted an unfettered right or privilege under the First Amendment to defame public figures by publishing false and defamatory accusations with actual malice,” the lawsuit states. “As a result of its conduct, Defendant crossed the threshold from speech protected by the First Amendment to enter the arena of actionable defamation of a public figure for which they must be held legally accountable.”
The lawsuit lists articles filed about Parks, beginning with a a March 14 one titled “Real Housewives of Atlanta’ Star Phaedra Parks Exposed.” The articles, the lawsuit says, “falsely accuse Plaintiff of being a crooked attorney who knows how to commit crimes, has committed crimes, and knows how to cover up her criminal activity.”
The article was followed by others, and then an ebook produced by Augustus Publishing titled, “Lies Of A Real Housewife,” by Angela Stanton. It’s online now and available for download. The description on the Augustus Publishing site reads as follows:
“Brazen, incisive, and outrageous, ‘Lies Of A Real Housewife,’ spans the years of early childhood through adulthood. It’s an illustration of guts, and the determination it takes to overcome tragedies in one’s life. Her story begins at the tender age of five years old when Angela Stanton was raped. She takes us into her survival mode on the streets, and adjustments she had to make in her home life. The author shares experiences of her teen years, growing up in Buffalo, NY. She leads us on a short stay as a young girl in Greensboro, NC. The author, rapper, wife and mother, guides us through her struggles into her early adult years in Hotlanta. By fate, she lives a hustler’s life of crime with none other than ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’s’ own, Phaedra Parks. By a twist of fate, her life crashes sending her on a trip to a darkened place called hell. Urban Author, Angela Stanton, survives to give a raw, revolutionary account of her daring journey to redemption. In her sophomore book, Lies Of A Real Housewife, Angela Stanton opens her past life for public viewing.”
The lawsuit says, “In its entirety, the book falsely portrays the relationship between Plaintiff and Stanton as that of friends and accomplices in criminal activity,” and “conveys a picture of Plaintiff as a crooked attorney engaged in a multitude of criminal acts, who conspires with Stanton to commit these acts, and who then uses Stanton in an effort to escape criminal liability for those acts.”
The lawsuit quotes excerpts from the e-book and articles claiming Parks was involved in various criminal enterprises including forgery and a complicated “federal racketeering scheme” aimed at stealing luxury cars.
“Like a true mafia outfit, we were operating above the law, and I was in an elite network of workers for Phaedra Parks,” reads an excerpt quoted in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit says that Parks met Stanton years ago through a past client, but that they have never been friends or close associates. It also notes that Parks is an attorney active in numerous philanthropic endeavors who ”has never been arrested for a crime or charged with any crime” and “has never been questioned by any law enforcement agency or organization about possible involvement in any crime.”
We’ve left messages with both sides seeking comment.
- Jennifer Brett/The Buzzemail@example.com