Frank Ocean defeats estranged Father’s libel lawsuit

November 2017



Frank Ocean is riding the wave of success after he was successful in defending a $14.5 million libel lawsuit that was filed against the singer/ songwriter by his estranged father. 

The lawsuit revolved around a Tumblr post written by Frank Ocean in the aftermath of the attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando last year, the post, which is still live, read: 

“I was six years old when I heard my dad call our transgender waitress a faggot as he dragged me out a neighbourhood diner saying we wouldn’t be served because she was dirty. 

That was the last afternoon I saw my father and the first time I heard that word, I think, although it wouldn’t shock me if it wasn’t”.

Calvin Cooksey, Frank’s father, claimed that the incident did not take place and accused his son of staging a “publicity stunt in the wake of the Orlando attack … [and] us[ing] his father as an instrument for personal connection in order to sell records”. Cooksey then went on to sue for libel. 

In response, Ocean stated seventeen ‘affirmative defences’ which he claimed should exemplify why his father’s lawsuit should be rejected. Cooksey attempted to have the ‘affirmative defences’ dismissed at a hearing in July and was ultimately unsuccessful. However, the judge did warn Ocean that a number of the defences may “have been put forward without any sort of factual basis”.

Nonetheless, and after hearing both sides of the argument, Judge Stephen V Willson held that a self represented Cooksey has not met the necessary requirements to meet a claim of defamation. Further, the Judge stated “Based upon other deficiencies in the plaintiff’s case, the judgment has to be for the defendant”.

Oceans lawyer, Keith G Bremer explained that “I’m happy he can put it behind him”.

Although, defamation proceedings do not come as new to Cooksey, in 2014 he tried, to sue Russell Simmons for defamation. Cooksey even went as far in claiming $142 million after the co-founder of Def Jam called Cooksey a “deadbeat dad”.  However, Cooksey did not get far, the case was thrown out before anyone set foot in court. 

Ocean has asked for court costs from his father.

By Samuel O’Toole

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