Frank Ocean Responds to $14.5 Million Libel Lawsuit Filed by Estranged Father in New Court Documents
By Alex Ungerman
Frank Ocean has responded to his father's libel lawsuit.
According to court documents filed on Feb. 2 that were obtained by ET, the artist's estranged father, Calvin Cooksey, is seeking $14 million in damages, claiming his son committed libel in a Tumblr post from last June. Ocean’s post described an alleged incident with his father, who Ocean claims once used a homophobic epithet to refer to a transgender waitress before dragging his then 6-year-old son out of the restaurant.
The quote in question, from Ocean's still-live blog post, which was written as a response to the tragic Orlando LGBT nightclub massacre, reads, "I was six years old when I heard my dad call our transgender waitress a f***ot as he dragged me out a neighborhood diner saying we wouldn’t be served because she was dirty."
In Ocean's response filed on Wednesday, Ocean admits that he wrote and published the essay, adding that the writing "speaks for itself."
The 29-year-old singer goes on to deny the libel allegation, asking the court for the case to be dismissed with prejudice, with Ocean being compensated for his attorney fees. The response document argues that the "defendant’s conduct was justified and/or privileged under circumstances, including, but not limited to, because they constituted fair comment," adding, "the statements made are statements of opinion, and thus not the proper subjects of a libel claim." Further, the response argues that Cooksey's claims were "unreasonably delayed," in being brought to court.
The quote in question, from Ocean's still-live blog, which was written as a response to the tragic Orlando LGBT nightclub massacre, reads, "I was six years old when I heard my dad call our transgender waitress a f***ot as he dragged me out a neighborhood diner saying we wouldn’t be served because she was dirty."
According to the blog post, Ocean has not seen his father since the alleged incident. The openly gay artist's 2016 Blonde album received critical acclaim and debuted at No. 1 in several countries including the U.S., peaking at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
Recently, Ocean canceled two scheduled festival appearances this summer -- the Washington "Sasquatch!" Festival as well as the Alabama "Hangout" Festival -- where Ocean has been replaced by LCD Soundsystem and Phoenix, respectively.
Also taking some time off this year is Ocean's collaborator and noted fan, Kanye West.
Watch the video below for more on the Life of Pablo rapper's break from public events.