Kardashians Win Blac Chyna Defamation Case Over Canceled Reality Show

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The Kardashians won their legal battle against reality star Blac Chyna on Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Chyna won no restitution in her nearly five-year lawsuit against the family, who she accused of defaming her and ruining her reality TV career.

Chyna, model and TV personality born Angela White, starred with former fiancé Rob Kardashian in the E! series”Rob and Chynafor a single season which premiered in late 2016. She continued several Kardashian-Jenner family members in October 2017, claiming they deliberately torpedoed a series renewal, and allegedly sought more than $140 million in economic and general damages for emotional distress.

Although the jury found that the Kardashians’ behavior at times matched some of Chyna’s claims about them, they determined that their actions had no impact on the longevity of Chyna’s reality show or her career in general. Michael Rhodes and Michelle Doolin, attorneys for the Kardashians, said in a statement that “the jury has sent a clear message to Ms. White and her attorney – I hope they are listening. Justice prevailed. »

Chyna left the courtroom after her delivery, looking flustered. The Washington Post contacted his lawyer to comment on the verdict.

The jury trial began this month after lower courts ruled Chyna had submitted enough evidence to specifically support the claims. against Rob’s mother, Kris Jenner, and her daughters Kim Kardashian, Khloé Kardashian and Kylie Jenner. As the jury deliberated on Friday, Kim was removed from the trial after the judge ruled she did not take a “responsible part” in the allegedly defamatory statements.

The initial lawsuit filed against the Kardashians on Chyna’s behalf stated, “The unwritten rule that no one told Ms. White when she entered into a relationship with Mr. Kardashian is: the whole family takes it personally if you leave and will come after you, using their fame, wealth and power to bring you down.

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During opening statements, which began April 19, Chyna’s attorney, Lynne Ciani, said the Kardashians “secretly and falsely” accused Chyna of abusing Rob, which she says caused the cancellation of “Rob & Chyna”. Ciani also alleged that the Kardashians threatened to pull their hit series “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” from E! if the network failed to take “Rob & Chyna” off the air, causing Chyna “significant financial damage.”

Ciani then followed Chyna’s life trajectory through her childhood as a hardworking college student raised by a single mother in Washington, D.C., her years working as an exotic dancer to save money, and her eventual success, resulting in the reality series. Chyna became Kim’s “best friend” in 2013, according to Ciani, and began a whirlwind romance with Rob in January 2016. By April, Chyna and Rob were engaged. The following month, Chyna announced that she was pregnant with their child; “Rob & Chyna” picks up during her pregnancy.

With the show, Ciani said, Chyna aimed to “bring the ‘real’ back to reality.” It covered topics such as Rob’s depression, as well as the ups and downs of the couple’s relationship – which ended when they called off their engagement in February 2017, just three months after the birth of their daughter, Dream. . Ciani pointed out that NBCUniversal, E!’s parent company, originally launched a second season of “Rob & Chyna.” Rhodes, an attorney for the Kardashians, argued that this does not mean the show has been officially or legally renewed.

At the heart of the legal proceedings was what happened between the couple in mid-December 2016. The defense argued that Chyna became extremely violent during a fight with Rob, destroying a television and a door in their house in addition to attempting to suffocate Rob with an iPhone cord. . Ciani said while the video evidence showed Chyna getting angry and breaking the television, she did not support the claim that she attacked Rob.

Due to the alleged attack, Ciani said, Kris became the “ringleader” of a covert campaign to have the second season of “Rob & Chyna” canceled. The attorney said Kris texted production executives saying Chyna was “stupid”, “drunk for 3 days” and “really ghetto” and that Rob should “drop the b—-“. According to Ciani, Kim ordered Khloé and Kylie to lie to producers; Kylie emailed E! executives and offered to film his own series to replace his brother’s.

Ciani said no one told Chyna of the allegations against her and she assumed her show would go on.

Rhodes began the defense’s opening statements by noting that “there is no drama like family drama.” He underlined the immense notoriety and the “vast empire” of his clients. He said Chyna “really wants to be part of this family” and that she “was willing to say or do just about anything to be part of this family”.

The lawsuit appeared to be a publicity stunt for Chyna, according to Rhodes, who pointed out that she refused to provide tax returns as proof that she had lost income following the cancellation of “Rob & Chyna.” (According to Vulture, Chyna testified that she hasn’t paid taxes since she told her accountant to stop preparing her 2019 tax returns.) He also denied that his clients defamed Chyna or interfered with his contract, which he said only guaranteed one season. He added that she had signed an agreement for a $100,000 killing fee if the show was not renewed; Chyna said the signature was forged.

Rhodes hit back at Ciani stating that the fight between Rob and Chyna was not filmed and that the family heard about the incident from Rob. He said the Kardashians and E! executives wanted the couple to consult to save the relationship — as well as the show — and that as executive producers, the Kardashians acted against their own interests in wanting to cancel “Rob & Chyna.” He said they did it out of concern for Rob’s well-being.

Kris testified that she believed Chyna was capable of killing Rob when she pointed a gun at his temple. Chyna said she did it as a joke, according to the Associated Press, and his team argued in court that Rob did not appear to have any facial injuries in the days following the fight. Vulture reported that Kris was asked about a text message she sent to a “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” producer saying that Chyna had “beat the s—” out of Rob’s face.

“If Rob tells me he’s been strangled with a rope or beaten with a pole, where someone puts a gun to your head, I might say, ‘She beat the face of Rob. He’s a figure of speech,” Kris told the court. “I hadn’t even seen him yet, so I don’t know if he had any marks on his face or not. It’s my way of speaking.

The jury determined on Monday that although Kris’s text was not “substantially true”, she had “reasonable grounds” to believe that Rob’s face had been injured in the manner.

Before being dropped from the lawsuit, Kim testified that she didn’t remember trying to get ‘Rob & Chyna’ canceled — “I don’t remember the texts I sent this morning,” a- she said – but admitted to making an effort to keep Chyna out of ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ after hearing allegations that Chyna abused Rob.

“I won’t go into a toxic work environment,” Kim said, according to the AP. “On my own show, I have the power to do that.”

Vulture reported that Rob testified that Chyna “put a gun to my head and tried to choke me and chase me and beat me” the night of the fight; Kris’ longtime boyfriend, business executive Corey Gamble, supported Rob’s account in court. Rob, accused of revenge porn after posting three nude photos of Chyna on Instagram after their breakup, filed to dismiss his own assault lawsuit against Chyna earlier this year, according to multiple reports.

Jessica P. Ogilvie reported from Los Angeles. Emily Yahr contributed reporting.

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