A Youtuber, Unwine with Tasha K, is being sued by rapper Cardi B, for her perpetual vlog content, stating that the rapper contracted Herpes, HPV, and uses cocaine. The rapper claims that these rumors are false, and defamed her reputation. She even admitted–in court–that she considered suicide because of the damage done by these statements.
Tasha K is a Youtuber with over a million followers and has massive influence in the Hip Hop and Black culture. This is one of the first times that a Youtuber has been sued for their content. I’m not sure how Tasha K runs her business, but I presume she has a team.
She has too large a following to not handle her Youtube channel like a business. However, Cardi B has the millions of dollars to spend, taking a chance in court, to send a message to reckless social media influencers who have become accustomed to saying whatever they want and not being held accountable.
Cardi B and her legal team allege that Tasha K perpetuated the non truths in 23 videos over a fourteen month period. Tasha K’s countersuit was dismissed in 2021, citing no evidence of the claim that the rapper sent her fans to harass the Youtuber. Cardi B’s defamation lawsuit is what they are battling about in an Atlanta federal court currently.
Cardi B was ordered to provide STD results and her medical records in court to show that Tasha K in fact lied about the rapper’s status. Tasha K did suffer a major blow with her admission that she knew the story was possibly false and told it on her channel anyway. There could be two reasons for this: pressure to hit her one million followers goal or becoming overly cocky as a big influencer and thinking she can get away with anything. Either way, Tasha K has herself in hot water and because she does have assets worth taking, Cardi B is ready to make an example out of her and send a clear message to bloggers/vloggers that they will be held to the same standards as journalist.
For this reason, influencers need to make adjustments, i.e., have a legal team (depending on how large a creator they are); check with credible news organizations before running a story: if The NewYorker runs a story–they have a legal team who most likely gave them the green light, but if no one is running the story, maybe you should follow their lead; and definitely have an LLC.
Social media can be tricky and has given many people too much confidence, thinking they can say anything without consequence. However, if you say it about the wrong one, they just might sue. If you are an influencer who does not have an LLC, they can sue you–the individual–for your house, your car, your everything. You would be putting your family at risk and the people who depend on you. My suggestion would be to register an LLC in the state you reside in STAT to protect yourself in the event of a lawsuit.
Sources for my opinion piece:
I also want to suggest this video that answers the question: should an influencer have an LLC, from a lawyer’s perspective.