Rapper Cardi B is currently involved in a case against a YouTube content creator popularly known as Tasha K and fans of pop culture and celebrity news are watching the case with keen interest.
Legal minds are also following the developments of the case closely as this could impact how YouTube content creators conduct themselves in future as well as what recourse the subjects of their videos may have against them in the event that the claims that they make are both untrue and malicious in nature.
Entertainment website Page Six reports that Cardi B (real name Belcalis Almanzar) originally filed the lawsuit against Tasha K (LaTasha Kebe) back in 2019.
Since then, numerous other YouTube channels have published videos recapping the latest updates pertaining to the matter. This month, the case finally went to trial, with Cardi B even taking the stand to share how the aftermath of what Tasha K said about her led to her feeling suicidal.
Page Six further reported that Cardi’s lawyers accused Tasha K of spreading other false narratives about her including that she cheated on her husband, used cocaine, was a prostitute and that she “f**ked herself with beer bottles on f**king stripper stages.”
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Contributing news producer for TMZ and editor-in-chief at the Hip Hop Enquirer Dennis Byron has been in court for proceedings and has been sharing updates via his social media channels on an almost-daily basis.
According to Byron, Tasha K admitted in court that she knowingly lied about Cardi B having herpes because she knew that she would make money from the traction gained by those stories.
The pair reportedly tried to resolve this amicably privately and Tasha demanded an exclusive, one-on-one interview from Cardi in exchange for a retraction about her claims. Cardi declined the interview request and Tasha forged on with her false claims against her despite not having done due diligence to verify the claims she was making.
The rapper testified that she was trying to build her career as an actress at the time these claims were being made and said that she lost out on acting roles as a result because some roles required kissing scenes and other actors declined to work with Cardi out of concern for their own health.
“I felt defeated and depressed and I didn’t want to sleep with my husband,” Cardi told the jury.
She went on to state that she suffered fatigue, weight loss, migraines, and anxiety after Tasha’s claims gained traction and that she ultimately had to seek help from a therapist.
Tasha could be liable for damages if the judge finds in favour of Cardi B and her legal team if they present their case well enough.
How could Cardi’s case affect YouTube creators going forward?
Vloggers in the pop culture space and other creators have long hidden behind their right to freedom of speech and expression without a clear understanding of the scope of that right. This is an understanding that members of traditional media keep in mind with everything they produce, publish and broadcast.
Essentially, while the right is there to safeguard free expression, it does not guarantee one the right to just do and say as they please. The right also comes with its own restrictions and doesn’t serve as an all-encompassing defence against the multitude of other laws and the rights of another person as guaranteed by the constitution of whatever country they reside in.
Journalists, media houses and other media practitioners who break this law, know all too well what the consequences of making unverifiable claims can be.
Over the years, YouTube has been known to update its policy to ensure that its creators adhere to a certain standard of behaviour, however, many continue to make untrue claims about the subjects of their videos.
YouTube policy clearly states that creators agree “not to upload anything that infringes on anyone else’s rights,” among other things.
One such example from South Africa is Podcast and Chill host and founder Macgyver “Mac G” Mukwevho who has faced legal action of his own in recent months, as have some of the guests who appear on his podcast.
Due to YouTube’s ever-changing terms of service, which most (if not all) creators have to agree to in order to be able to use the platform, many have been left wondering if the outcome of Cardi’s case against Tasha K could result in changes that could see YouTubers think twice before making unverified claims on their channels.