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A few days after Toronto’s June 21 MuchMusic Awards, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton filed a civil suit against Polo Molina, band manager of the Black Eyed Peas, for battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. According to the complaint, Black Eyed Peas’ front-man will.i.am, unhappy with Perez’s recent postings that colorfully expressed his disappointment in the band’s latest CD, approached Perez (a.k.a. Mario Lavendeira) at an after party hosted by local Toronto club Cobra. Apparently, Perez and will.i.am engaged in a war of words, during which Perez used a gay slur, for which he later apologized (see below). Yet at some point during the verbal brawl, Perez alleges that Molina physically assaulted him, resulting in an eye injury and other injuries that left Perez bleeding and emotionally distraught.
The eight-page complaint, filed on June 24 in the Superior Court of California (L.A. County) on behalf of Perez by Bryan Freedman of Freedman & Taitelman, LLP, not only accuses Molina of physical abuse, but also provides the court with a detailed list of Molina’s prior scrapes with the law. Arguing that Molina has a history of violence and criminal misconduct, Perez alleges that during a taping of Punk’d in 2004, Molina, believing he was actually being arrested, punched an off-duty policeman who was part of the program. The complaint also mentions Molina’s current probationary status in California following a DUI, as well as an alleged 2006 brawl in Berlin, Germany during which will.i.am, Molina, and others injured innocent bystanders with flying beer bottles and other glassware. The complaint (called “poorly written” by one legal blogger) reads more like one of Perez’s recent blogposts than a legal complaint:
By this lawsuit Lavendeira seeks to protect his Constitutional right to express his opinions and to be free from physical violence and intimidation for exercising these rights. Pointedly, no matter how angry Molina and his entourage may have been, no matter how much they disagree with Lavendeira’s opinion, they did not have, nor do they ever have, the right to try and inflict physical harm to him or anyone else. Violence is never the answer and will never be tolerated by Lavendeira. Thus, the time has come for Molina to be held accountable for his criminal behavior, and to try to explain his cowardly and heinous actions to a jury of his peers. Moreover, punitive and exemplary damages must be awarded to show Molina and the Black Eyed Peas that physical violence is never an acceptable response to one’s expression of opinion.
This lawsuit is yet another in Perez’s recent attempt to fight back; on April 9, Perez filed suit against local Florida blogger Jonathan Jaxson (a.k.a. Jonathan Lewandowski) for defamation (oh, the irony). Perez claims he suffered loss of reputation, shame, mortification and mental anguish as the result of Jaxson’s media claims that Perez manipulated him into sending Perez sexually explicit videos.
Apparently, Perez and his lawyer have embarked upon a legal crusade to “strike back” against all those who attempt to stifle his constitutional right to free speech. It will be interesting to see not only how the court handles this most recent filing, but also where and when the next battle (Perez against the World) will occur. As for Molina, he is set to appear in court to face the allegations against him on August 5.
Note: After apparently slinging a gay slur at will.i.am during the verbal fight on Sunday night, Perez has since apologized for his insensitivity, while simultaneously promoting his legal argument against Molina: “I was in an out-of-the ordinary situation and used a word that I would not utter under normal circumstances . . . . I am speaking out because I realize that the last few days have been more hurtful to me—and many others—than the repeated blows I suffered to my head in Toronto this past weekend.”
– Jaclyn Thomson
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