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Cardi B may struggle to get her defamation damages as YouTuber files for bankruptcy protection

By | Published on Wednesday 31 May 2023

Cardi B

The YouTuber who defamed Cardi B has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US, suggesting that the rapper may struggle to claim the millions in damages she was awarded by the courts.

Cardi B – real name Belcalis Almanzar – sued YouTube creator Latasha Kebe over various claims that the latter made about the former in her YouTube videos. That included, legal papers said, that Almanzar “was a prostitute … was a user of cocaine … had and still has herpes … had and still has HPV … engaged in a debasing act with a beer bottle and … committed infidelity”.

Almanzar denied all the allegations that Kebe had made, and told the court that false rumours spread by the YouTuber had had a negative impact on her mental health, resulting in the rapper becoming depressed and suicidal.

Kebe, meanwhile, basically admitted in court that she didn’t fact-check any of the allegations made about Almanzar on her YouTube channel, even when the rapper was actively denying those claims.

A jury found Kebe liable for defamation in January last year, awarding the rapper nearly $4 million in damages. Kebe appealed that judgement in the Eleventh Circuit Appeals Court, but judges there upheld the original ruling in March. She has now said that she wants to take the case to the US Supreme Court, though she may not have the funds necessary to pursue such action.

According to Billboard, legal reps for Almanzar have been seeking payment from Kebe for months now, having previously secured about $10,000 by successfully making a claim on monies owed to Kebe by YouTube. Millions in damages are still owed.

However, in bankruptcy papers the YouTuber says that she has just $58,595 in total assets to her name – and most of that relates to a 2021 Chevrolet Silverado that’s tied as collateral to an unpaid auto loan.

The legal papers add that Kebe and her husband currently make more than $30,000 a month, so there is new income coming in, but finding the millions that are owed to Almanzar may prove challenging. Technically Kebe’s company Kebe Studios LLC is liable for $500,000 of the damages, but as it currently stands that business is not seeking bankruptcy protection.