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Aretha Franklin Files $10 Million Suit Over Patti LaBelle Fight Story

The article was "presented as a serious news story intended to depict me in a slanderous and derogatory way," singer says

Aretha Franklin performs in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Erika Goldring/Getty Images
April 17, 2014 3:10 PM ET

Patti LaBelle did not punch Aretha Franklin, and the latter soul diva wants the website that wrote a fake story "for entertainment purposes" to pay up for spreading the rumor. Franklin has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the humor site the News Nerd, according to The Detroit News. "The stories were not presented as satire or humor," she said through her publicist. "It was presented as a serious news story intended to depict me in a slanderous and derogatory way – defamation of character."

Jerry Wexler Explains Why Aretha Franklin is One of Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Artists

On April 11th, the News Nerd published a story that claimed LaBelle had been charged with assault and battery after accosting Franklin, apparently angered over how Franklin "threw epic shade" at her. The supposed attack took place at the Women of Soul concert in Atlanta in March. "Franklin was quickly struck with a Mayweather style right and left and stumbled backwards, landing awkwardly," the website wrote. "Bystanders subdued Labelle and escorted her outside of the venue. Franklin suffered only minor injuries."

Franklin then issued a statement a few days later denying the attack. "I've never heard anything crazier – regarding myself and Patti allegedly fighting on March 20, in Atlanta," she wrote, via Billboard. "On March 20, I was in New York City readying for my birthday patty (Sorry. LOL. Laughing at my typo error). I meant PARTY, which we all had one fabulous time. Patti and I are cool and we always have been. I enjoyed her at the White House. Classic Patti."

Since the article has gotten the website attention, the News Nerd has since changed the byline from Kato Leonard to "The News Nerd Staff," according to the paper. It has also apparently been edited.

Franklin recently told Rolling Stone that she is working with Clive Davis, who is executive-producing her next record, a concept album on which she'll cover songs by her favorite female singers, including Donna Summer, Barbra Streisand and maybe Beyoncé. "I like 'Bootylicious,' 'Survivor' – my little granddaughter loves 'Survivor,'" she said. "She's a worker," Franklin says of Beyoncé. "And I can appreciate that. I'm a worker."

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