Don’t mess with the Queen. That’s what a satirical website is learning after a story they published went viral and people believed it was true. Website Thenewsnerd.com published a story that said that Aretha Franklin and Patti Labelle came to blows at a concert in Atlanta on March 20th.
In the story the website says Labelle supposedly attacked Franklin, “with a Mayweather style right and left” causing Franklin to stumble and land awkwardly.
When the story went around the web as truth, Franklin, through her publicist, quickly issued a denial.
“I’ve never heard anything crazier—regarding myself and Patti allegedly fighting on March 20, in Atlanta,” she says. “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.”
Franklin also disproved a prevalent rumor that she had shaded Labelle during the Performance at the White House: Women of Soul program that aired on PBS. A clip that also went viral made it appear that Franklin brushed past Labelle without speaking. The clip didn’t include another shot that showed the two divas hugging as Labelle left the stage.
Although Thenewsnerd.com does include a disclaimer on the site that says the news is strictly satire, similar to the Onion, that’s not enough when reputations are on the line.
Franklin says that she’s suing the sites CEO Kato Leonard for $2 million dollars.
“The stories were not presented as satire or humor,” says Franklin. “It was presented as a serious news story intended to depict me in a slanderous and derogatory way—defamation of character.”
Though Labelle has yet to make a public statement, we have a feeling that she’s at least happy that reports made her the victor in the non-existent “fight.”