Artist News Legal
By Chris Cooke | Published on Wednesday 18 October 2017
Frank Ocean has successfully defeated a $14.5 million libel lawsuit filed against him by his estranged father, which all related to a Tumblr post.
As previously reported, in the wake of the attack on Orlando’s Pulse nightclub last year, Ocean wrote a Tumblr post in which he said: “I was six years old when I heard my dad call our transgender waitress a faggot as he dragged me out a neighbourhood diner saying we wouldn’t be served because she was dirty. That was the last afternoon I saw my father and the first time I heard that word, I think, although it wouldn’t shock me if it wasn’t”.
Ocean’s father, Calvin Cooksey, denied that the incident ever took place and sued for libel. Ocean initially responded by saying his original Tumblr post “speaks for itself”, though in his subsequent legal response he listed seventeen ‘affirmative defences’ which, he argued, together demonstrated why his father’s libel proceedings should be rejected.
Efforts by Cooksey to have all those ‘affirmative defences’ dismissed failed back in July, though at that hearing the judge cautioned Ocean that some of his defences seemed to “have been put forward without any sort of factual basis”.
However, yesterday, after considering further arguments from both sides, judge Stephen V Wilson formally ruled in favour of Ocean, stating that Cooksey – who represented himself in court – had failed to meet the necessary requirements to make a defamation claim. According to Law 360, the judge stated: “Based upon other deficiencies in the plaintiff’s case, the judgment has to be for the defendant”.
A legal rep for Ocean said that his client was glad that the case was over, adding that it had created a difficult situation for the musician. Lawyer Keith G Bremer added: “I’m happy he can put it behind him”.