Celebrities are just like us. So, does that mean that they should be held accountable when they do something wrong, just like us normal people? Especially when they have so much money, right? Well, some cash-hungry fans seem to think so and don’t hesitate to take legal action against some of their favorite entertainers, no matter how insignificant or downright bizarre the issue.
Whether it’s concert injuries, stolen articles of clothing, or giving a lackluster performance, celebrities are sued left and right. There are plenty of cases when fans have tried to get a small sliver of a celebrity fortune. The bigger the entertainer, the easier it is to find an excuse to sue.
Let’s take a look at the times stars were sued by their fans!
Bon Jovi: Stealing Lyrics
Back in 2008, rumors started circulating that an unknown songwriter was suing ’80s heartthrob Jon Bon Jovi for an outrageous amount of money. It turned out that these rumors were, in fact, true when Samuel Bartley Steele introduced himself to the world as the man behind the lawsuit.
Steele claimed that Bon Jovi stole some of the lyrics from his song “(Man I Really) Love This Team” and used them in the band’s own hit song, “I Love This Town.” But Steele wasn’t just irritated, he was angry. He sued Bon Jovi for a whopping $400 billion, which, by the way, is worth way more than the entire music industry. Bon Jovi claimed that he never heard of the track, despite Steele claiming that the artist got a copy of his track.
Jessica Simpson: Pretending a Stranger’s Baby Was Hers
The singer turned actress turned fashion designer was sued for posing with a fan’s baby. Really! Louisiana locals Christopher Hurst and Tracy Gregory sued Jessica Simpson, OK! Magazine and Getty Images for publishing a picture of Jessica posing with the couple’s baby boy without their permission.
The saga began when Hurst took his son and teenage daughter to a meet-and-greet with Jessica at a shopping mall in Los Angeles in 2011. While the family was waiting in line, two people approached and asked if Jessica could take a picture with their baby. Six months later, one of those pictures appeared on the cover of OK! Magazine with the caption, “The star opens up about her beautiful girl.” Hurst and Gregory asked for $75,000 in damages, claiming that OK! Magazine intentionally misled its readers into believing that their son was actually Jessica’s daughter.
Sum 41: Throwing a Hotdog
While watching a local minor league baseball game back in 2002, Michael Sudore got hit in the head by a hotdog thrown by a member of Sum 41. The band not only taped the entire incident but included it in the DVD for their album Does This Look Infected? without Sudore’s permission. The 40-year-old didn’t know about the DVD’s existence until one of his clients questioned him about it.
He then filed a lawsuit, seeking $6 million in damages on top of lawyer fees. Sudore’s lawyer claimed that he suffered psychological trauma from the incident, and his business was affected by his involuntary association with the band. “They picked him out because of his distinct look and pelted him with a hot dog, then surreptitiously taped him and his reaction, and not in the most flattering way,” Sudore’s lawyer, H. Todd Bullard, said.
Rod Stewart: Ruining a Marriage
The 75-year-old crooner has been a Celtic Football Club superfan his entire life and has been known to kick a soccer ball into the crowd at his concerts. Yet this seemingly harmless armless act left one fan without a husband, and, no, it’s not what you’re thinking. In 1990, a Michigan resident won $17,000 after suing Stewart for kicking a soccer ball that ruptured a tendon in her finger.
The former fan said that her hurt finger affected her “intimate” life and eventually ruined her marriage. You would think that Stewart learned his lesson after forking over almost 17 grand, but sadly he did not. In 2012, a fan from California was hit in the face by a soccer ball, fracturing his nasal cavity. The man sued Stewart for $10,000 in damages.
Prince: Bedazzling a House
Back in 2005, NBA All-Star Carlos Boozer bought a ten-bedroom, 18,000 square-foot mansion in Bel Air. But before he could even move into his house, he had to jet off to the Utah Jazz training camp. His realtor called him and said that there was a long list of people who wanted to rent his mansion, including none other than the musician Prince.
But after a hamstring injury forced Boozer to come back home, he walked into a very different house. Prince had repainted the exterior of the mansion with purple stripes, installed a black carpet in the guest room and a purple monogrammed carpet in the master bedroom. After two months of Prince ignoring Boozer’s phone calls, the NBA star prepared to sue the singer for $25,000. Luckily, Prince changed everything back to normal and Boozer still remains a Prince fan.
Michael Jackson Estate: Fake Tracks
After the King of Pop’s untimely death in 2009, Epic Records and Sony Music Entertainment released his first posthumous album of previously unreleased tracks. While most fans rejoiced to hear Michael Jackson’s voice again, fan Vera Serova was convinced that the late singer wasn’t actually singing on some of the tracks.
She claimed that “Breaking News,” “Monster,” and “Keep Your Head Up” were not, in fact, sung by Jackson, regardless of what the credits said in the track listing. Serova filed a class-action suit in 2012 for the violation of unfair competition, consumer laws, and fraud. Even the King of Pop’s brother, Randy Jackson, had his doubts. According to Randy, when producer Teddy Riley played some of the album’s tracks, “I immediately said it wasn’t his voice.”
Sia: Giving a Lackluster Performance
No one was injured at Sia’s 2016 concert in Tel Aviv, but fans still found a reason to sue the singer. The audience was confused after the singer’s show lasted for only 65 minutes and featured a pre-recorded video of Kristen Wiig and Maddie Ziegler dancing on the stage screens.
The lawsuit also stated that Sia gave a lackluster performance. She didn’t interact with the crowd and stood at the back of the stage wearing her signature wig over her face. Fans were furious and sued the singer and Tandi Productions (the company that brought her to Israel) for 8 million NIS (which is over $2 million) to be paid to all of the concert ticket holders.
Miguel: Failed Leap Over Audience Members
Remember when Miguel’s stage leap at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards fell short? Well, for those who don’t remember, allow me to remind you. The singer tried to leap over several audience members, but, instead, he partially landed on two women.
One of the women he landed on, Cindy Tsai, ended up suing the singer-songwriter and the MGM Grand Hotel (where the BBMAs took place) for negligence, according to TMZ. Tsai claimed that Miguel’s failed leap injured her, and she sued the R&B singer to cover her medical bills and loss of income. And this isn’t the same woman whose lawyer spoke with TMZ back in 2013 about suing the singer for an apparent head injury. That woman, Khyati Shah, did not file a lawsuit against the singer.
A$AP Rocky: Getting Physical With a Fan
Rapper A$AP Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, settled a lawsuit back in 2015 for slapping a female fan during his set at the Made in America festival in Philadelphia. Lisamarie Wade sought $75,000 in damages, claiming that the slap made her unable to “enjoy society with her minor child as a young, single mother.”
TMZ reported that both sides settled, but for an undisclosed amount. This happened a few years before the rapper’s infamous 2019 assault case in Sweden when A$AP spent most of July behind bars after he and two members from his entourage got into a scuffle with two fans who were allegedly harassing the rapper. A$AP was found guilty but was given a suspended sentence.
Creed: A Drunken Performance
Four Creed fans filed a lawsuit against the band, its management, and Ticketmaster over a 2003 show at the Allstate Arena in Illinois. The fans claimed that the band’s lead singer, Scott Stapp, was off of his game. In the suit, they claimed that Stapp was “so intoxicated and/or medicated” that he couldn’t sing one Creed song.
The suit also argued that “Stapp left the stage on several occasions during songs for long periods of time, rolled around on the floor of the stage in apparent pain or distress, and appeared to pass out while on stage during the performance.” Not a good look. Ultimately, the court threw out the lawsuit, but the band’s reputation never fully recovered.
Chris Brown: Stealing a Hat
Chris Brown is another celebrity whose fans have taken legal action against him. In 2015, the singer was sued by a fan who was one of five people shot at one of his parties at the Fiesta Nightclub in San Jose, California. The lawsuit claimed that it was Brown’s fault that security wasn’t tight enough.
In 2016, Brown was sued again for stealing a fan’s hat. Marq Stevenson claimed that he had handed his hat to one of the Brown’s friends for him to sign. But instead, the friend not only kept the hat for himself but bullied Stevenson. The now hatless fan sued the singer for $2,750 to cover his ticket and hat, as well as the embarrassment of being bullied by Brown’s entourage.
Guns N’ Roses: Breaking Someone’s Teeth
Aussie Darren Wright damaged his two front teeth after Guns N’ Roses front man, Axl Rose, threw his microphone into the crowd at the end of his performance at the Perth Arena in Australia. The disgruntled fan told The West Australian, “With the bright lights and explosions, I couldn’t see anything. The next thing I knew, I was whacked in the mouth. I thought I had been punched.”
“I was quite stunned and it took a few seconds to realize what was going on. I could feel bits of teeth in my mouth.” Apparently, the band’s promoter Andrew McManus contacted Wright to offer him a microphone signed by Axl Rose. The fan turned down the souvenir and instead sued the band for damages to fix his teeth.
Lil Wayne: That Skateboard Incident…
According to TMZ, Lil Wayne and his entourage were investigated by the police for attacking an overly persistent fan back in 2012. Alfredo Marino suffered a “severe injury” after a member from the rapper’s entourage hit him over the head with a skateboard after he allegedly asked for a photograph. Lil Wayne refused to take a picture, so Marino tried to take a picture from his car, which caused a fight.
Marino claimed the rapper and his record label, Cash Money, were responsible for “enabling the attacker.” At the time of the incident, the victim’s lawyer said, “My client will enforce all of his rights under the law and all individuals responsible for this outrageous incident will be blamed for the damages that my client has suffered and continues to suffer.”
Justin Bieber: Damaging a Mom’s Ears
According to TMZ, Stacey Betts claimed that her hearing had been permanently damaged after taking her daughter to a Justin Bieber concert back in 2010. The mother, who didn’t have a lawyer, attempted to sue Bieber, his label, the concert arena, and the promoter for $9.23million in damages. According to the lawsuit, Betts said, “I was injured by a sound blast that exceeded safe decibel levels. I suffer hearing loss, tinnitus and hyperacusis in both ears.”
The mother also said that it wasn’t just the screaming in the arena that caused irreparable damage to her hearing; it was the singer’s set design. According to the lawsuit, Bieber made her hearing much worse when he pulled the audience into a “heart-shaped aluminum/steel gondola.” Betts has since dropped her case against the singer.
All American Rejects: Throwing a Can at Fan’s Head
All American Rejects front man Tyson Ritter was taken to court after an incident at the 2010 Vans Warped Tour. According to Mercury News, Ritter threw an energy drink into the crowd and hit a fan in the head. The fan, Nina Kooroshfar, was struck in the head and received a cut so deep that she needed 12 stitches to patch it up, leaving a permanent scar.
According to the lawsuit, Kooroshfar “did not reasonably expect the large drink to be thrown at her at the time and could not avoid being hit by the can thrown by Ritter.” The suit asked for unspecified general damages for negligence, assault, and battery. Kooroshfar also sued Monster Beverage Co., the Warped Tour producer, and Live Nation.
Beyoncé: Causing a Stampede
Even Beyoncé can’t escape the wrath of cash-hungry fans. It’s no surprise that concert crowds get rowdy, especially when they’re in the presence of the Queen Bee herself. But two long-time fans supposedly didn’t realize that the crowds start way before the start of the show, and they ended up being trampled by a “rushing mob” trying to get a good view of the stage.
Gabriella Davidson and Raquel Castellanos filed a lawsuit against The Chicago United Center, Live Nation, and Beyoncé herself. Davidson and Castellanos claimed that all three contributed to the large, wild crowd that gathered before the singer’s performance. According to the suit, the United Center didn’t explain when or where the gates would be opened before suddenly opening the entrance “without instruction or any reasonable system to permit an orderly entrance.”
Snoop Dogg: Injuring 40 Concertgoers
Back in 2016, Snoop Dogg and fellow rapper Wiz Khalifa were sued by 14 fans and three venue employees when a stampede broke out at one of their concerts in New Jersey. The fans claimed that the two rappers were to blame for the broken railing because they started yelling at the crowd to come closer to the stage.
Over 40 people were injured in the incident and treated for broken bones and bruises. One fan was left in critical condition after falling at least 10 feet onto concrete. The lawyer for the critically injured fan argues that the rappers, as well as the venue, should have taken better precautions. Snoop was immediately cleared from the case because he doesn’t live in Pennsylvania, where the suit was filed.
Gwen Stefani: Causing a Mad Rush of Fans
Singer Gwen Stefani was sued by one of her fans after allegedly causing a stampede at one of her concerts in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2016. The venue, PNC Music Pavilion, is an outdoor amphitheater that has lawn admission of up to 10,000 people. According to the suit, Stefani told concertgoers to “Just fill in anywhere you like! Who cares about your lawn chairs? You can get new ones!”
This caused fans from the general admission area to rush into the reserve seating area by pushing past security barriers and jumping across seats just to get closer to the stage. Lisa Stricklin was trampled in the stampede and broke her leg. Stricklin sued for $75,000 in damages from each defendant: PMC Music Pavilion, Live Nation, and Stefani herself.
Usher: Knowingly Passing on Diseases
Back in 2017, Usher was sued by three people for allegedly transmitting a certain disease. After documents were leaked to the press that the R&B singer had carried the virus since 2009 or 2010 and passed it on to a partner in 2012, another woman filed a $10 million lawsuit against the singer. When her test results came back positive for the disease, she doubled the amount of damages to $20 million.
All three plaintiffs claimed that Usher didn’t say anything about having the virus. Usher, aka his insurance company, was ordered to pay the $20 million, but not without a fight. His insurance company didn’t want to pay this large sum, claiming that Usher’s policies didn’t cover these types of actions and they filed a lawsuit against the singer before eventually dropping their case.
Louis Tomlinson: Airport Scuffle
When you’re as famous as the boys from the now broken-up band, One Direction, you’re constantly harassed by the paparazzi, especially in public places like airports. Singer Louis Tomlinson was with his girlfriend, Eleanor Calder, when he was spotted by paparazzi. Tomlinson became frustrated with the annoying photographers, and a fight ensued.
But it wasn’t the paparazzi who filed a lawsuit against the singer. It was fan Ana Becerra, who was left with a busted eye after Tomlinson tried to stop her filming the brawl involving him and the photographer. Becerra, however, didn’t seem too bothered by her eye, but happily told the press that she was going to seek legal counsel. However, she later dropped the charges against the singer.
If you’re keen on learning behind the scenes facts about musicians, check out this next article about Michael Jackson’s kids!