Enraged by allegations that she and husband Kevin Federline created a sex tape, pop diva Britney Spears has filed suit against tabloid magazine US Weekly. Spears claims that the tabloid libeled the couple and misappropriated her name and image to increase sales. She is seeking $10 million in libel damages and another $10 million for the misappropriation claim.
At issue is an October 17th "Hot Stuff" column which claimed that the couple had created a raunchy sex tape, then handed it to their estate planning attorneys on September 30th due to fear of possible distribution by unscrupulous members of their entourage. According to the US reporter, the two watched the tape with the lawyers and "acted goofy the whole time."
The suit claims that no tape exists, that no viewing party took place, and that no unseemly behavior occurred, simply because there was no tape to begin with. Spears' attorney, Martin Singer (a well known entertainment legal specialist) stated that "neither party viewed the video in the presence of their attorneys" and accordingly could not have acted "goofy." Further court papers claim that the US column has exposed Spears to "hatred, contempt, ridicule and obloquy."
Spears and US Weekly have gone head to head before. Last February, Britney came out publicly against the magazine when it published pictures of her and Federline while honeymooning on the FijiIslands. US defended itself at the time, claiming that Spears had actually sold the photos to publications.
Spears has threatened to sue tabloids before - in July 2004, she threatened the New York Post with suit if it did not retract a story about her public alcohol use. The Post had run a photo that showed Spears drinking from what appeared to be a miniature liquor bottle. Spears claimed that she had been drinking ginseng, a non-alcoholic herbal tonic. The matter was amicably settled.
Presently, US Weekly stands by its story and has refused to retract same; stating publicly, "Britney should start her own magazine if she'd like to dictate her own coverage."