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Jury selected for Cardi B’s defamation action against YouTuber

By | Published on Tuesday 11 January 2022

Cardi B

A jury was selected yesterday for Cardi B’s defamation litigation against YouTuber Latasha Kebe. Several fans of the rapper were rejected as possible jurors, even though most of them reckoned their fandom wouldn’t effect their impartiality.

Cardi B – real name Belcalis Almanzar – sued Kebe back in March 2019 in relation to various videos the YouTuber posted to her unWinewithTashaK channel which, the rapper claims, included defamatory statements.

Among other things, Kebe is accused of incorrectly stating 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 initially sought a summary judgement in her favour, but the judge overseeing the case knocked back that request last July, concluding that there was a genuine dispute of material fact regarding whether or not some or all of the claims made by Kebe were in fact “false and defamatory”.

That was in no small part because of content submitted to the court by the YouTuber in which Almanzar seems to admit to being a sex worker and using drugs, thus suggesting that at least some of Kebe’s statements were not, in fact, false.

The case was originally due to reach court last September, but was then moved back to November. The latter hearing was then postponed at the last minute due to a “family emergency” on Almanzar’s part, a development that resulted in the Kebe side accusing the rapper of not being serious about pursuing the case, adding that the whole thing should be dismissed as a result.

But the judge declined Kebe’s dismissal request too, meaning a full hearing is now underway in the courts in Georgia. Yesterday was focused on jury selection.

According to Law360, one potential juror admitted that, as a fan of Almanzar, she would likely be biased in favour of the rapper. She was obviously not selected as a juror. And, indeed, other fans were not selected too, even though they insisted that liking Almanzar’s music wouldn’t result in any bias if they were required to deliberate on the defamation case.

Another potential juror was not selected because he said that he didn’t like rap music in general and that that would likely make him biased against Almanzar. And another was rejected because he said he believed celebrities should have thicker skins when it comes to people talking about their lives and criticising their work.

But the good news is that seven women and three men were selected, and with a jury in place opening statements can be delivered later today. All jurors have been asked to refrain from following Almanzar on social media for the duration of the trial.