You know, here at The Root, we like to call a thing a thing. For instance, if you support a president who unabashedly espouses xenophobic, ableist, sexist, and most regularly, racist rhetoric, we might consider you a racist by association. It’s not defamation; it’s simply deductive reasoning—just like should you be one of these aforementioned supporters, you might assume we African Americans should “go back to our own country” as if this one wasn’t built by our ancestors, too—and I mean, literally built.
Well, despite the fact that she’s never been known for mincing words, apparently, Cardi B can’t call a thing a thing—or a racist by association a racist—without being sued for defamation. Specifically, as Page Six reports, Cardi has been accused of defaming “a group of Long Island beachgoers, whom she called ‘racist MAGA supporters,’ by posting edited video and commentary of an altercation between them, her sister and her sister’s partner,” earlier this month on Long Island, N.Y.
Per Page Six:
Cardi’s sister, Hennessy Carolina, and her girlfriend, model Michelle Diaz, got into a heated argument with the group on Sept. 6 at Smith Point Beach, Fox News reported at the time. One of the men they were arguing with was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat during the altercation, according to the report.
In social media posts after the beef, Cardi wrote that Carolina and Diaz were harassed over where they parked their car, “all because they are a Afro/Hispanic gay couple.”
A NSFW video showing part of the incident was posted by Cardi on Twitter (in response to Candace Owens, no less) on September 6:
In response to further right-wing scrutiny (which, in a celebrity-edition example of whataboutism, nonsensically brought Jussie Smollett’s name into the mix), Cardi also reposted Carolina and Diaz’s audio testimonial about the altercation. In the recording, Carolina claims the two men, one of whom was wearing a MAGA hat, “harassed” her and her longtime partner. In their version of events, they say the men insisted they move from their parking spot at the beach because they “didn’t belong [there],” telling them to “go to [their] fucking country,” ostensibly because Carolina and Diaz “were speaking Spanish and [are] a mixed couple and [are] lesbians.” They also claim the men went so far as to follow them even after they moved spots (which is not intimidation or harassment at all).
But of course, the lawsuit filed against Cardi, which names Carolina and Diaz as codefendants, alleges the MAGAts were the real victims here, and that the video was doctored to publicly paint them in a negative light, thus defaming them. That is, according to the plaintiffs’ attorney, John Ray, who filed a lawsuit on the beachgoers’ behalf for defamation and civil rights violations.
“These peaceful Suffolk County residents were quietly enjoying a Sunday at the Smith Point beach with their families, when rap celebrity Hennessy Carolina suddenly approached them, raging, spitting, insulting, assaulting, defaming and threatening them, all the while videotaping them because one of them wore a MAGA hat,” Ray told ABC 7 New York.
“Then Hennessy, Cardi B and celebrity model Michelle Diaz deviously edited the videotape and published the edited version all over social media, across the world for all to see, and maliciously falsely labeled these residents and their families as ‘[Niggas]’ and as racists,” Ray added, clearly missing the irony in that last part.
To be fair, no one has seen a video of the entire confrontation, which may be because it didn’t exactly go down the way Carolina and Diaz claim, or simply because Carolina didn’t think to whip out her phone before things quickly and irrationally escalated. Nevertheless, we can’t help but wonder at what point this group of so-called peaceful MAGA-loving residents ID’d Carolina as a “rap celebrity” or Diaz as a “celebrity model.” We assume it was around the same point that they identified themselves on multimillionaire Cardi’s timeline.
“Real threats of harm were made,” Ray maintains. “They live in fear now. Their reputations have been ruined. We seek substantial damages.”
Granted, we’re not sure we could pick any of these sunglass-wearing white people out of a MAGA rally, but that’s likely because we all know who the real racists are here—us! Sorry, we just can’t help our implicit bias: If you vote for and openly support a racist, we might be prone to think you’re one, too.