Is this logo libelous?
  • Is this logo libelous?
About a month ago, Bon Von Wheelie of the local band Girl Trouble was hit with a $25,000 defamation lawsuit because of the website she and her bandmates created that warned other bands about pay-to-play schemes. The website in question is www.neverpaytoplay.com, and the company filing the lawsuit is Gorilla Prodcutions out of Cleveland. They are not happy about what Wheelie and her bandmates have had to say.

Girl Trouble has posted the documents (which are public record) on the website—you can see them here—and the band has hired Wade Neal, a local entertainment lawyer (as well as a member of the totally rad band Seaweed) to represent them here in Washington. Neal says he's hoping to work with an attorney in Ohio (where Gorilla Productions is based) so they can get the case dismissed.

"Gorilla's lawsuit has very negative implications for free speech and it is harmful to the music community," says Neal. "In our view, Gorilla is doing business in questionable ways, and is now filing a baseless claim against a group that is just trying to express a valid opinion. The content on Bon's website is protected speech, plain and simple. "

In the legal documents you can see the list of examples of supposed defamation that got Gorilla Productions all worked into a tizzy. #33 is probably my favorite:

Defendants' conduct also constitutes "defamation per quod" as Defendants falsely accuse Plaintiff of engaging in defamation through interpretation and innuendo. Such defamation can be found on Defendants' website where they claim that: 1) plaintiff is a giant gorilla head that is taking over; 2) a record deal with Plaintiff is virtually worthless; 3) Plaintiff made a failed pitch to MTV for a reality series; 4) indication that the photo of the Gorilla members contained on a web-site is a "groovy group photo showing how much fun they have."

So basically Gorilla is suing because Girl Trouble's website said they were "a giant gorilla head that is taking over"? They're also pissed that, when searching their name in Google, one of the first things that shows up in the drop-down menu is "Gorilla Productions Scam" (see #36).

The band will continue to post updates at www.neverpaytoplay.com, and they are planning on setting up a legal defense fund, should anyone want to donate to help them cover the costs of this pricey process. I'll post the information for that as soon as it becomes available.