Top 5 Craziest Celebrity Court Cases
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
These court cases are just bizarre. From Rebel Wilson's defamation case to Taylor Swift suing a DJ for sexual assault, WatchMojo is counting down the most outlandish, and weirdest celebrity court cases in history
Special thanks to our user doucey for suggesting this idea! WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Craziest%20Celebrity%20Court%20Cases
Script written by Nathan Sharp
Top 5 Craziest Celebrity Court Cases
These court cases are just bizarre. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 5 Craziest Celebrity Court Cases.
For this list, we’ll be looking at five of the craziest, most outlandish, and weirdest celebrity court cases in history. For the purposes of this list, the case must have gone to court. Lawsuits that were thrown out before they went to court will not be included.
#5: Rebel Wilson’s Defamation Case
In May of 2015, an Australian women’s magazine called Woman’s Day insinuated that Rebel Wilson had lied about many facets of her upbringing, including her name and age, in order to appear more interesting to prospective filmmakers. Wilson in turn – citing a loss of work – sued the publication for making her out to be a serial liar. In June 2017, a jury found Bauer Media responsible for defaming Wilson’s name and awarded the actress $4.5 million, the highest amount in Australian defamation history, which was later reduced to $600,000 on appeal, and which as of 2018 is again facing an appeal – lodged by Wilson. For her part, Rebel has claimed any money awarded will support various charities and scholarships.
#4: Taylor Swift vs. David Mueller
This blew up in David Mueller’s face. Mueller was a DJ who lost his job after groping Taylor Swift's butt – which is were this story takes an unusual route. Rather than Taylor charging him, Mueller sued Swift claiming she'd concocted the story to get him fired. This prompted Taylor to counter-sue on the grounds of sexual assault, a case which was ruled in her favor. For the singer, this was a moment and a platform to stand up for other women who have faced similar humiliation, so rather than seeking a massive payday, Taylor set the stakes at $1, as a symbolic gesture to show women that they shouldn’t be passive victims of abuse.
#3: Charlie Chaplin’s Mann Act and Paternity Suits
It isn't all glitz and glam being a celeb. Between 1941 and ’42, Charlie Chaplin was complicit in an affair with aspiring actress Joan Barry. Once Barry announced her pregnancy, she filed a paternity suit against Chaplin. It was all pretty common stuff, except then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was habitually suspicious of the comedian, and enacted a smear campaign against Chaplin, citing the Mann Act, a piece of legislature which made it illegal to travel with a woman to a different state for sexual reasons. The trial garnered enormous publicity, but Chaplin was acquitted, yet despite this and blood tests proving otherwise, the actor was found to legally be the father of Barry's child, and was forced to pay child support until the child turned 21.
#2: The Amarillo Texas Beef Trial
It’s no secret that Oprah has a wide reach. In April 1996, Oprah had farmer, vegan, and animal rights activist Howard Lyman on her show, and the two discussed the horrors of mad cow disease. Oprah and Lyman were then taken to court for “defaming” the beef industry, as Texan law in particular had measures in place to protect food and food producers from slander, which – the case argued – Winfrey and Lyman had committed. The plaintiffs claimed that beef prices dramatically fell as a result of the episode and they sought $11 million in damages. As a result – although not by decision of the court - Oprah was forced to move production of her show to Texas for the duration of the trial, which ended in her victory after five weeks.
#1: A Nun Dies in Court While Battling Katy Perry
Song royalties, contractual obligations, disagreements with a venue or label – these are all reasons why a pop star might find themselves in court. For Katy Perry, it was buying a convent. The California Girl attempted to purchase the convent from the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which was simple enough, except the nuns themselves wanted to sell to Dana Hollister, a restaurateur, who was later ordered by judgment to pay the Archdiocese and Perry $5 million for interfering in the sale. What was already a weird enough case, however, took an odd turn when one of the nuns – Sister Catherine Rose – died, in court, during the hearing. On top of all this, it was also revealed that the nuns didn't seek permission for the sale from the property's technical, legal owner... the Pope.