Frank Ocean Wins Defamation Lawsuit Against His Father

Frank Ocean has won a $14.5 million libel suit from his estranged father, Calvin Cooksey.

After a day-long trial, in which Ocean, Cooksey, and his mother Katonya Breaux testified, District Judge Stephen V. Wilson ruled that Cooksey did not provide sufficient evidence of defamation – as reported. The evidence Cooksey provided to the court was a Tumblr post Ocean wrote back in 2016, in the wake of the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub. In the post, the Grammy-winning artist recalled a moment of being at a restaurant with his father and said his father used a homophobic slur.

“I was six years old when I heard my dad call our transgender waitress a fa***t as he dragged me out a neighborhood diner saying we wouldn’t be served because she was dirty,” Ocean wrote in the post. “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.”

According to Billboard, Cooksey filed a lawsuit in February 2017, alleging that he tried to get the post removed without success. He also argued in the complaint that the post put him in “the middle of a terrorist attack on the gay community,” and damaged his future financial opportunities in the film and music industry. The trial brief states that Ocean argued that the post was not only true but his father’s suit does not sufficiently provide a category of libel under which the post allegedly falls, nor does it show how it has professionally hurt Cooksey.

Following the verdict, Frank’s attorney, Keith Bremer, commented about the trial saying: “It was a super sad case,” he said to Pitchfork in a statement. “I am sorry that my client had to go through this and am glad that we could bring closure.”

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