Celebrities like to remind their fans, the press, and anyone who will listen, that they’re just like everyone else. Just normal people. So that should mean they’re held accountable when they do something wrong, like all of us normal people, right? Especially when they’ve got such a disposable income, right? Even if it was done by accident, or even not specifically done by them, right?
Well, some so-called fans seem to think so, not hesitating for a second to action legal proceedings against their favorite famous people, no matter how small, insignificant, or downright bizarre the issue. Even when it’s your favorite person in the world, someone they’d normally stalk on social media, or maybe even in real life; when you gotta sue, you gotta sue, especially when a big payout is on the cards.
Whether it’s canceled VIP experiences, concert injuries, stolen clothing, fake vocals or STIs; there’s a lawsuit in it. From broken fingers ruining relationships, to a pop concert-induced cold sore forcing a woman to take two weeks off work, there have been plenty of cases where fans have tried their darndest to get a small slice of a celebrity fortune.
The bigger the celebrity, the easier it is for fans to find an excuse to take them to court, so here are 15 Shocking Times Stars Were Sued By Enraged Fans.
15 Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber is no stranger to controversy. He can’t even seem to do right by his fans lately, upsetting them by telling them to be quiet during emotional parts of his shows, refusing to take photos, and turning down hugs.
The Biebs has been made to literally pay for his "mistakes" a couple of times too. Justin canceled his scheduled meet and greets for his Purpose World Tour in December 2016, and a court ruling in the fans’ favor saw the star fork out VIP ticket refunds, as well as legal fees. Bieber said he cancelled the meet and greets because he ends up “filled with so much of other people’s spiritual energy that I end up so drained and unhappy.”
Justin also found himself in a court battle after punching a fan in the face as he reached into his car in November 2016. Kevin Ramirez just wanted to "touch his shoulder and face", but ended up with a fat lip when Bieber lashed out. He told Spanish radio host Julia Otero, “This matter is now in the hands of lawyers. They will deal with it".
14 Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson passed away almost 10 years ago, but that hasn’t stopped so called fans suing the King of Pop’s estate for reasons varying the ridiculous scale.
In 2014, five fans of the late popstar sued his personal physician for damages, claiming they had been caused "emotional damage" by his death, and subsequent jailing of the doctor, Conrad Murray (who was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter). The fans were awarded symbolic damages of €1 each, when the French court accepted that they had suffered ‘emotional damage’.
Later the same year, another fan sued the Jackson estate, claiming the 2010 posthumous album, Michael, didn’t feature Michael’s vocals throughout. She said that she had hired an audio expert, and the results showed that tracks ‘Breaking News’, ‘Monster’ and ‘Keep Your Head Up’ were unlikely to have Jackson singing on them.
Then in 2015, the estate was sued once more by the father of deceased film producer Raju Patel, after alleging that he was blocked from making tribute film, 'Messages to Michael'. Sharad Chandra Patel said he was given a contract from his dying son to make the movie, but the Jackson’s executors wouldn’t provide home video footage or music rights.
Even the Queen Bee herself can’t escape the cash-hungry wrath of apparent fans when an opportunity presents itself. It’s no surprise that crowds at concerts tend to get rowdy, especially when they involve such a huge pop star. But what two Beyoncé fans didn’t realize was that the insane crowds start even before the show has started, and the pair ended up trampled by the “rushing mob” attempting to get a good view of the stage inside the arena.
Raquel Castellanos and Gabriella Davidson, both self-described “long-time fans of Beyoncé,” filed a six-count lawsuit against The Chicago United Center (where the concert was held), Live Nation Entertainment (the show’s promoters), and Beyoncé herself.
Castellanos and Davidson claimed that all three contributed to the formation of a large, raucous and confused crowd that gathered outside the United Center before Beyoncé’s performance, and led to them getting knocked unconscious and with broken bones.
Another concert scandal, starring another queen of the pop scene. This time Rihanna was slapped with a lawsuit following an unhappy concert goer’s bad experience. Well, technically it was MAC Cosmetics that were sued, following a Rihanna concert in 2013.
The cosmetics juggernaut were giving out free samples of the Rihanna capsule collection at a pop-up shop in the Barclay's Center, on the night of the concert. The unlucky fan tried the collab lipstick, RiRi Woo, and later regretted it.
Starkeema Greenidge, 28, said that a MAC artist applied the unsanitized, herpes-infected tube of lipstick to her mouth, and two days later, developed a cold sore on her lip, which was diagnosed as herpes. She sued MAC for an undisclosed amount of money, claiming for emotional distress and lost earnings after missing two weeks of work.
11 Jessica Simpson
If lipstick herpes wasn’t a weird enough reason to sue your favorite celebrity, posing with your baby probably is.
Yep, Jessica Simpson was sued for just that after posing on the cover of OK! Magazine with a baby, and the headline "The star opens up about her beautiful girl". Only it wasn’t her baby girl, but a fan’s baby boy, Christopher.
Baby Christopher had (reluctantly, we imagine) been taken to a Jessica Simpson Meet and Greet, along with his teenage sister, by their father, also called Christopher. Adult Christopher claims the family were approached while waiting in line, and asked if Jessica could have her photo taken with Baby Christopher. These photos were misleadingly used by Getty Images, Jessica and OK! Magazine, so Adult Christopher sought $75,000 in damages from the three parties involved.
10 Chris Brown
Another star who’s seen his fair share of controversy in the press during his celebrity years, Chris Brown has also had his fill of fans taking legal action over him.
In 2015, Brown was sued by a fan who was shot at one of his parties, claiming it was the singer’s fault that he had sustained injuries, because security wasn’t tight enough. Five people were shot at the party at the Fiesta Nightclub in San Jose. As part of the case, a number of shooting, stabbing, and fights connected to Chris Brown were listed, as well as his 2009 conviction for beating then-girlfriend Rihanna.
Then in 2016, Brown was again sued by a fan for - wait for it - stealing his hat. The fan in question claimed he handed his hat to one of Brown’s friends for him to sign, but never got the hat back. He also said he was bullied by Brown’s crew. For his trouble, he sought $2,750 to cover the cost of his ticket, his hat, and the humility of being "bullied" by Brown’s crew.
9 Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg’s fans sued him for a little more than $2,750, over a little more than stealing his hat.
Back in 2005, a civil lawsuit was filed against Snoop, the Game, Kurupt, Daz Dillinger and Soopafly, after a fan was beaten onstage. The fan misinterpreted an invitation from the D-O-Double G to come onstage, and when he did get on the stage, he wasn’t met with open arms, but clenched fists from the rappers’ bodyguards. The fan sought a whopping $22 million in punitive and compensatory damages for assault, battery, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
More recently, Snoop, along with fellow rapper Wiz Khalifa, was sued by 17 fans when a stampede broke out at their show in New Jersey last year. A railing collapsed, and 40 people were said to have been injured, as they fell onto the grass below them. The fans claim Snoop and Wiz were to blame because they chanted "bring your a** down here", inciting the stampede that caused the collapse.
Snoop was cleared from the case as he doesn’t reside in Pennsylvania, where the suit was filed, but Wiz et al. are still stuck in the case.
8 All-American Rejects
Some fans are just ungrateful of freebies at shows. First Rihanna fans getting all antsy because they got a cold sore from their free lipstick, now we have an All-American Rejects fan that didn’t appreciate their free can of energy drink.
At Warped Tour 2010, Nina Kooroshfar watched the All-American Rejects, and unfortunately got hit by a complimentary can of the Monster Energy drink, leaving her needing 12 stitches in a wound that scarred her for life, according to her attorney Bob Rosenthal. She sued the band for negligence, assault and battery.
Nina was given backstage passes, she met the band, had a photograph with them, and received an apology from singer Tyson Ritter, but it wasn’t enough.
Her attorney added: "The lawsuit is against the promoter, the band, Shoreline Amphitheatre, those companies affiliated with the band and the lead singer of the band.”
7 Rod Stewart
British rock singer Rod Stewart doesn’t learn his lesson. He’s been taken to court three times by fans, all for the same reason - kicking a soccer ball into the crowd.
Way, way back in 1990, (now ex-) couple Patricia Boughton and her husband Stephen sued Rod because she was left "permanently disfigured" when a soccer ball hit her hand at one of Rod’s shows. They also claimed that this led to a decline in the couple's intimate encounters, and was the cause of their divorce. Seems legit. The couple settled for a $17,000 judgment, much less than the $75,000 they originally sought.
Another fan sued in 2002 after his pinky finger was broken by Rod’s ball, resulting in him finding "work difficult." Rod was then sued in 2014 after a fan was left with a broken nose, and sought “unspecified damages of at least $10,000 plus attorney fees”.
Rod’s response to all these cases? “The show wouldn’t be the show if I stopped kicking out those footballs,” adding in reference to his shows: “Yeah, well, it’s a contact sport”.
No one was hurt at the 2016 Sia concert in Tel Aviv, but fans still found a reason to sue the singer anyway.
The concert goers were left bemused after her show lasted only 65 minutes, featured no stage banter, and screens streaming a pre-recorded video of her Kristen Wiig and Maddie Ziegler as back-up dancers. She also was said to have delivered a lackluster show, standing toward the back of the stage throughout the performance while wearing the signature wig that predominantly covered her face. Sia never once addressed the crowd, mentioned what it was like to be in Tel Aviv, or bantered in any way.
As a result, the suit against Sia and Tandi Productions – the firm that brought her to Israel – reportedly called for a nearly NIS 8 million (over $2 million) sum to be paid as nominal reparations to all of the concert’s ticket holders.
5 Gwen Stefani
One of the only stars on this list without a controversial past (except maybe for the mixed views on her Harajuku girls), Gwen Stefani still found herself in a legal battle with a fan, earlier this year.
At last year’s Charlotte, North Carolina's PNC Pavilion show, Gwen allegedly urged fans out on the lawn section: “Just fill in anywhere you like! Who cares about your lawn chairs? You can get new ones!” This led to a massive stampede, as people filled in every empty space possible, to get nearer to the stage.
Poor Lisa Stricklin got caught up in the stampede, as the lawsuit put it, she "was trampled by the rush of patrons and into a wall along the reserved seating area, causing her severe physical injuries," including a broken tibia.
For her troubles, Stricklin asked the judge to force Live Nation and Stefani to each pay her $75,000 and sought unspecified punitive damages from Stefani.
Usher’s lawsuit from fans puts Rihanna’s lipstick herpes to shame, as it has been alleged that the R&B star has passed the herpes virus - the STI, not a cold sore - to five people.
Documents leaked online earlier this year stating that Usher carried the virus since 2009 or 2010, and gave it to a partner in 2012. After this leak, another woman filed a $10 million lawsuit against the singer. After testing positive for the disease, she upped the lawsuit to $20 million.
Then, the three fans (two female, one male) sued him on allegations of fraud, sexual battery, infliction of emotional distress, and more, alleging that he was positive for the herpes virus and didn't tell them in advance.
Usher is denying he has the disease, and plans to take legal action against his accusers.
3 Guns n Roses
A little less, ahem, personal than the last entry, back in 2013, rock legends Guns n Roses were sued by a fan for knocking their teeth out.
Darren Wright damaged his two front teeth and injured his mouth after singer Axl Rose threw his microphone into the crowd at the end of the band’s set at Perth Arena.
The fan told The West Australian: “With the bright lights and explosions, I couldn’t see anything. The next thing I knew, I was whacked in the mouth. I thought I had been punched. I was quite stunned and it took a few seconds to realise what was going on. I could feel bits of teeth in my mouth”.
The band's tour promoter Andrew McManus reportedly contacted Wright apologizing for the incident and offered to give him the microphone signed by Axl Rose. Wright turned down the gesture and instead sued for damages to pay for treatment to fix his broken teeth, costing $5000.
2 Louis Tomlinson (One Direction)
You don’t get to be as famous as the boys in the now defunct boyband, One Direction, without being constantly harassed by the paparazzi. Especially in public places, like airports, which is exactly what singer Louis Tomlinson learnt the hard way.
While he was trying to spend a quiet day travelling with his girlfriend Eleanor Calder, Louis was spotted by paparazzi, who tried to get a good shot of his lady friend, much to the singer’s dismay. But it wasn’t the scuffle with the photographer that got him into legal trouble. It was fan Ana Becerra - who ended up with a busted eye after Louis tried to stop her filming the brawl involving him, his girlfriend, and the photographer - who was adamant to press charges.
Ana didn’t really seem too bothered by her cut eye, as she quite happily made it clear she would seek legal council, telling press “he's going to jail.” She, however, later dropped the charges.
1 Marilyn Manson
Okay, so this one might not have come from an enraged fan, but it’s just too crazy to not be mentioned on the list.
Back in 2000, shock-rock superstar Marilyn Manson was sued by a very disgruntled security guard, who was working one of Manson’s shows in the Historic Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. The security guard sought more than $75,000 for emotional distress and other injuries, after the singer left him feeling humiliated and degraded and he "endured ridicule and shame."
But what did Manson do to make him feel this way you ask? He grabbed the guard's head, held it against his hips and "proceeded to gyrate his hips."
This is the second case of Manson violating security guards, when in the previous July he gyrated against the neck and head of another security guard, and was subsequently charged with criminal sexual conduct and assault and battery.
Did these celebs deserve to get sued? Would you ever take your favorite celebrity to court? Let us know in the comments.