This weekend, a News Nerd story with the headline "Patti Labelle Arrested After Fist Fight with Aretha Franklin" made the rounds. As of right now, the post has been shared 1,700 times on Twitter and 41,000 times on Facebook. People gleefully spread the news that these ladies of soul, elegance, and attitude came to blows. Of course, if people thought for a second, "That's ridiculous! I've never heard of the News Nerd. Can I trust this source?" and then checked the site's home page, they would have seen more ridiculous headlines and a disclaimer at the bottom of the screen:
The stories posted on TheNewsNerd are for entertainment purposes only. The stories may mimic articles found in the headlines, but rest assured they are purely satirical.
But people are busy and/or lazy and/or really wanted to believe that two living titans clashed. They saw that gif of Franklin apparently shading LaBelle at the White House in March (included in the News Nerd story and referenced as a source of tension between the singers) and wanted more of that but bloodier.
Aretha Franklin was not amused. Aretha Franklin has announced that she is suing the News Nerd for $10 million. The Detroit News reports:
"The stories were not presented as satire or humor," Franklin said through her publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn. "It was presented as a serious news story intended to depict me in a slanderous and derogatory way — defamation of character."
In the News Nerd's diva fanfic, LaBelle is the one who beats up Franklin, so if there is defamation of character happening, it's in faux-reporting that Franklin couldn't take LaBelle:
Onlookers say LaBelle quickly removed her wig and earrings as she approached Franklin. Aretha, knowing that the removal of earrings is a tell-tale sign that a fight is about to ensue, attempted to prepare herself for the confrontation. Franklin was quickly struck with a Mayweather style right and left and stumbled backwards, landing awkwardly. Bystanders subdued LaBelle and escorted her outside of the venue. Franklin suffered only minor injuries.
Aretha Franklin will have you know that Patti LaBelle is no match for her, thank you very much.
(Just kidding. That was satire. Don't take it out of context and spread it amongst your internet friends.)
Earlier this week, Franklin issued a statement denying that the fight ever happened:
I've never heard anything crazier—regarding myself and Patti allegedly fighting on March 20, in Atlanta. On March 20, I was in New York City readying for my birthday patty (Sorry. LOL. Laughing at my typo error). I meant PARTY, which we all had one fabulous time. Patti and I are cool and we always have been. I enjoyed her at the White House. Classic Patti.
Dig that "patty/PARTY LOL" moment and think to yourself, "Who's zoomin' who?"
Anyway, Aretha Franklin probably won't get $10 million because: satire, but at least all the ink that such a huge sum commands will ensure that her truth will travel. She's basically using the Streisand effect to her benefit.
[Image via Getty]