Grammy winner Aretha Franklin is furious over the story that claimed that she and fellow R&B diva Patti LaBelle had gotten into a fight during an Atlanta concert that resulted in LaBelle being arrested.
The story originated on TheNewsNerd.com, a site that bills itself as a “purely satirical” site. Despite it being a news parody, the pretend story was picked up as though it was legitimate news by blog sites, radio shows and even some respectable news outlets.
The “Queen of Soul” did not find the story and the media firestorm it caused remotely humorous and has ordered her attorneys to file a $10 million lawsuit over the matter.
“The stories were not presented as satire or humor,” said Franklin in a statement to AlwaysAList.com. “It was presented as a serious news story intended to depict me in a slanderous and derogatory way—defamation of character.”
When the fake report originally spread, the 72-year-old ‘Respect’ singer issued a statement declaring that the story was outlandish.
“I’ve never heard anything crazier—regarding myself and Patti allegedly fighting on March 20, in Atlanta,” she says. “On March 20, I was in New York City readying for my birthday patty (Sorry. LOL. Laughing at my typo error). I meant PARTY, which we all had one fabulous time. Patti and I are cool and we always have been. I enjoyed her at the White House. Classic Patti,” Franklin said on Tuesday, April 15, 2014.
Apparently, TheNewsNerd.com was inspired to pen the faux fight story about Franklin and LaBelle after a clip of a PBS special from when both divas recently sang at the White House surfaced online and it appeared Franklin snubbed LaBelle. Rumors of a riff between the two ladies instantly became a hot topic on the internet, though they have since clarified the encounter.
In an interview with Philly.com, LaBelle dismissed all notions of a feud.
“A lot of times, when people are singing, they don’t see anybody,” LaBelle explained. “I didn’t feel any negativity at all. She is the most wonderful woman in the world, and there is no one like her, and I pray for her every day.”
Regardless, Franklin is adamant that TheNewsNerd.com and its CEO, Kato Leonard will pay for the distress the story has caused her.