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Social media users often publish defamatory statements to get more clicks and grow their following. However, making a false statement that injures someone’s reputation can have far-reaching consequences.
The legal battle between the rapper Cardi B (Belcalis Almánzar) and blogger Tasha K (Latasha Kebe) demonstrates the repercussions of discussing someone’s reproductive health.
Cardi B filed a bitter STD defamation lawsuit against Tasha K after the blogger posted false rumors that the “WAP” rapper was a prostitute and drug abuser who contracted sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
In this article, our team at Rapid STD Testing discuss the lessons we learned from this case.
The feud between Cardi B and Tasha K began in September 2018, while the rapper was pregnant. The internet blogger posted around 38 YouTube videos focusing on Cardi B’s personal life.
The first video that Tasha K uploaded (September 19) was an interview with a woman who claimed to have known Cardi B before she started her music career. According to the interviewee, Cardi B made a living as a prostitute, and she abused hard drugs, including cocaine and 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (Molly).
In another video, Tasha K claimed that Cardi B’s unborn child had a risk of intellectual disabilities, supposedly because of the rapper’s destructive lifestyle.
Some of Tasha K’s videos also claimed that Cardi B contracted a sexually transmitted disease (STD). According to Tasha K, Cardi B suffered herpes (HSV) outbreaks around her mouth.
After the first slanderous video appeared on Tasha K’s YouTube channel, Cardi B’s lawyer sent the YouTuber a cease-and-desist letter, demanding that she remove the video immediately.
Instead of removing the video, Tasha K uploaded another video, claiming that the allegations in her previous video were accurate. The YouTuber also stated that Cardi B was cheating on her husband.
Cardi B contacted Tasha K via private message, expressing anger over the statements at issue. In response, Tasha K invited Cardi B for an interview on her YouTube channel, but Cardi B declined the invitation.
In March 2019, Cardi B filed an STD defamation lawsuit against Tasha K. The rapper claimed that Tasha K engaged in a malicious campaign of untrue statements against her to promote her gossip website.
Initially, the interviewee in the September 19 video was also a defendant. However, a judge filing terminated the claim against her in November 2020.
According to the lawsuit, Tasha K had a reckless disregard for the truth, and her offensive statements caused Cardi B emotional distress.
When taking STD defamation claims to trial, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant:
In an STD defamation lawsuit, the plaintiff’s STI status is significant, as it can prove the first element of defamation.
In Cardi B’s case, Judge William M. Ray II ordered the Center for Women’s Pelvic Health to release Cardi B’s STD results.
If Cardi B’s STI test results were negative, it would prove that Tasha K made defamatory statements while knowing that she had a lack of evidence to back up her claims. In this case, Cardi B would only have had to prove that Tasha K’s statements caused damages, such as emotional distress or harm to her reputation.
Note: Same-day STD testing can play a crucial role in STD defamation cases. However, the courts might also order STD testing during a criminal case. For example, if you don’t inform a sexual partner of your STD, you might face a criminal charge or a civil lawsuit.
Click here to learn whether giving someone an STD is illegal.
The STD results that the court ordered in the Cardi B case were negative for herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV). Consequently, the Atlanta jury who heard the case found Tasha K liable for defamation, infliction of emotional distress, and invasion of privacy.
The jury awarded Cardi B the following:
On April 4, 2022, Judge William Ray granted a gag order against Tasha K, giving her five days to remove all content on Cardi B from her YouTube channel. Under this order, Tasha K may never create and publish content about Cardi B again.
Even though Tasha K will appeal this verdict, she will likely pay a high price for her claims about Cardi B’s STI status.
The most critical lesson from Cardi B’s STD defamation lawsuit is that making public statements about someone’s sexual health is rarely a good idea.
Defamation can be due to malice or negligence. Suppose you reasonably foresee that a statement about someone’s STD status might be false and harmful to their reputation and relationships. In this case, if you make the statement anyway, you might face a civil claim.
Apart from these legal repercussions, you don’t want your statements to be the cause of someone else’s hardships in life.
Knowing your health status can help you take on an STD defamation lawsuit. At Rapid STD Testing, we can provide you with a rapid STD test or a 10-panel STD test to detect potentially life-threatening diseases.
Our STD tests are safe, accurate, and discreet. Enter your zip code to find one of our labs near you, or call (866) 872-1888. We also have medical experts and consultants available to provide STD care.