T.I. & Tiny’s Lawsuit Over OMG Dolls Declared Mistrial
The judge for T.I. and his wife Tameka “Tiny” Harris‘s lawsuit against a toymaker has declared a mistrial. The ruling was handed down after jurors heard a woman testifying she “did not want to support a company that steals from African Americans and their ideas.”
The woman, Moneice Campbell, gave her testimony via recorded video. She added that “people often steal from the black community and make money off of it.”
Senior U.S. District Judge James V. Selna declared the mistrial after hearing arguments from the company, MGA Entertainment’s lawyers. They held that “inflammatory” testimony about cultural appropriation had ruined their chances of a fair trial. They also labeled the comments a “rant” that is prejudicial against the defendants.
The judge had previously prohibited discussion about “cultural appropriation” as he found it to be “immaterial and impertinent” to the actual legal issues at play.
Following the ruling, MGA Entertainment provided a statement to Billboard claiming that “diversity has always been a key value” at the company. They added: “We are disappointed that the trial was cut short, but look forward to vindicating our rights in the next trial.”
MGA attorneys also wrote in a motion that challenging the testimony will only draw “further attention to it.”
T.I.’s lawyer, Erin Ranahan, tried to get the judge to reconsider the ruling.
The lawsuit is regarding the use of T.I. and Tiny’s stepdaughter’s likeness. They claim that MGA, in its series of “OMG” dolls, ripped off her look while working in the rap group OMG Girlz.
It’s unclear when a new trial could begin.