The judge presiding over T.I. and his wife Tameka “Tiny” Harris‘s lawsuit against a toymaker has been declared a mistrial, after jurors heard a woman testifying she “did not want to support a company that steals from African Americans and their ideas.”
The lawsuit, filed against MGA Entertainment, claims the toy company stole from their daughter’s likeness for their LOL Surprise Dollz toy line, which the woman in question called cultural appropriation.
Zonnique Pullins, T.I.‘s stepdaughter, had previously been a part of the girl rap group OMG Girlz, whose likeness bares a shockingly resemblance to the aforementioned dolls, The Shade Room previously reported.
Jury Overhears Woman Making Prejudicial Comments In Rapper T.I.’s Lawsuit Against A Toy Company
On Wednesday, Senior U.S. District Judge James V. Selna declared the mistrial, agreeing with an argument made by MGA’s lawyers.
“I did not want to support a company that steals from African Americans and their ideas,” the woman was overheard saying.
Today, a judge declared a mistrial because of it, agreeing with this argument from MGA’s lawyers. pic.twitter.com/51LXV8gFBO
— Meghann Cuniff (@meghanncuniff) January 25, 2023
According to court documents obtained by crime reporter Meghann Cuniff, Judge Selna deemed the woman’s testimony regarding cultural appropriation a “rant” that is prejudicial against the defendants, which in this case is MGA Entertainment.
Rapper’s Lawyer Attempts To Get Judge To Reconsider, Claiming The Woman’s Testimony Wouldn’t Help Their Case
T.I.’s lawyer, Erin Ranahan, tried to get Judge Selna to reconsider, claiming the testimony wasn’t anything helpful for their case.
“We did not want that theme before this jury in particular. This is not Los Angeles. There’s not a single Black person on the jury.”
The rapper and his wife are suing a toymaker for using his stepdaughter’s likeness in a series of dolls, which they claim ripped off her look while working in the rap group OMG Girlz.
Coming soon to the federal courthouse in Santa Ana, California: Rapper T.I. and his wife, Tameka “Tiny” Harris, are going to trial to defend the intellectual property rights of the former girl rap group OMG Girlz in a lawsuit with toymaker MGA Entertainment. pic.twitter.com/5yTN39AXHA
— Meghann Cuniff (@meghanncuniff) January 5, 2023
In April 2022, Pullins accused the doll company’s LOL Dolls of plagiarizing the aesthetic of OMG Girlz, a group she was in during her teenage years, The Shade Room‘s Nick Fenley wrote for Blavity at the time.
The Harris family were amidst a trial to defend the intellectual property rights of former girl rap group OMG Girlz, Cuniff reports.
Lawsuit Has “Big Cultural Misappropriation, Racism Issues Being Considered In Litigation,” Reporter Says
In an Instagram post Zonnique made in April, she polled her followers on the matter, having them choose between “Hope you got paid” and “Nope, don’t see (the resemblance).”
Roughly 95 percent of respondents sided with Pullins.
The trial itself is going to be about MGA’s LOL Dolls and whether or not they infringe on OMG Girlz. The doll maker was actually the first to initiate litigation back in 2020, but now T.I. and Tiny have gone on the offensive with a counterclaim.
Cuniff reports the suit has “big cultural misappropriation and racism issues being considered in litigation, among other pre-trial issues,” she tweeted.
It’s unclear as to when a new trial will begin.