A rapper affiliated with the hip-hop collective Wu-Tang Clan has lost his legal fight against TMZ and others over a mistakenly reported story that he had cut off his penis.
Marques Andre Johnson, who works under the rap name Andre Roxx and claims to be associated with Wu-Tang Clan via membership in Killa Beez, sued TMZ Productions and others in March 2016 over the report originating on TMZ, which Johnson says was libelous.
According to the suit, the April 2014 report claimed that Johnson “was rushed to the hospital early Wednesday after he cut off his penis and then jumped off a second story balcony.” However, the libel suit contended, the rapper who committed the act of self-mutilation was actually Christ Bearer, also affiliated with the Wu-Tang Clan.
However, in an opinion handed down on Tuesday, a federal judge found that Johnson’s claim is barred by the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania, where Johnson resides.
“Under Pennsylvania law, the statute of limitations for libel and false light invasion of privacy is one year from the date of publication.” the opinion reads.
Johnson had claimed that the laws of Delaware should apply, given that most of the defendants are incorporated there. That argument was deemed insufficient in Tuesday’s order, which said it would “place undue weight in the choice of law analysis on Defendants’ state of incorporation — which would undermine the purpose for the borrowing statute and improperly allow Plaintiff to ‘shop’ for the most favorable forum.”
“Hence … Plaintiff’s complaint is time-barred,” the order concludes. “For the foregoing reasons, Defendants’ motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s claims … will be granted.”
Johnson’s suit claimed that the rapper, who was incarcerated at the time of the report, was forced to go into protective custody “because other inmates began threatening, harassing and attacking him,” according to the complaint.
Johnson also said that his association with the story has damaged his music career, and “has made it exceedingly difficult for Plaintiff to earn a living even outside of the music industry.”
He also claimed that he’s gone so far as to disguise himself before going out in public.
Pamela Chelin contributed to his report.