HOUSTON (CN) – Beyonce Knowles’ father claims Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun tabloid defamed him in a “made up” story about a bogus “bitter rift with his famous daughter.”
Matthew Knowles and his company Music World Entertainment sued The Sun in Federal Court. The Sun is published by a subsidiary of Murdoch’s News Corporation. It is identified in the complaint as a publication of the NI Group Ltd.
Matthew Knowles’ star rose in the music industry through his management of Beyonce, and her former group Destiny’s Child, which has sold more than 60 million records.
“Matthew Knowles is a true American success story,” the complaint states. “A successful businessman, he recognized the unworldly talent of his eldest daughter, Beyonce, and quit his job. Beginning a new career, he returned to school, formed a new business, and helped transform a group of promising young girls into international sensations. Later, Knowles helped Beyonce become one of the biggest solo stars in the world. At the same time, he created a world class entertainment business, Music World International.
“Then came a time of change in the Knowles’ family. Beyonce, now an adult and married to Jay-Z, an international star and music producer, had reached the stage in her life where she needed to move beyond having her business run by her father. It was time for Beyonce to manage her own career.”
Knowles claims Beyonce discussed their cutting of professional ties in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, and a self-published HBO documentary called “Life is But a Dream.”
The complaint states: “In the Oprah interview, Beyonce explained, ‘It’s part of life and it’s part of growth and I had to tell myself at some point I have to be the adult that my father has raised me to be.’ She also explained that the decision was difficult precisely because she loved her father, because he had ‘done such a fantastic job,’ and because she wanted to keep the family relationship pure. Beyonce’s relationship with her father was also a focus of her HBO documentary, which includes footage of Knowles holding his newborn granddaughter.
“It was in this context that a reporter for The Sun requested an interview with Matthew Knowles.”
Knowles says Sun reporter Georgina Dickinson contacted him in February about an interview.
“Knowles was willing to discuss how his business, Music World International, was going to move forward, but was reluctant to discuss his personal life, particularly his family,” the complaint states. “For example, on March 18, 2013, Knowles’ press agent reiterated that ‘Mr. Knowles will not discuss personal family topics, only his career and the career of his artists, and music or business topics.’
“Negotiations commenced about the scope of the interview. The reporter promised that she would ‘paint a well-rounded picture of Mr. Knowles, both as a loving family man and force to be reckoned with in the music world.’ The reporter noted that such a picture would include some personal family topics. Specifically, the reporter claimed she wanted to discuss some of the topics discussed in Beyonce’s Oprah and HBO interviews, demonstrating that The Sun’s reporter had seen both shows.
“Ultimately, The Sun and Knowles reached an agreement on the scope of the interview. The Sun even offered to pay Knowles for the interview and for his promise to forgo future interviews with any other United Kingdom publications. The promised payment, however, was never made.”
In addition to stiffing him for the interview, Knowles claims, the article The Sun published on its website “was made up.”
Knowles says in the complaint: “The Sun placed sensationalism over the truth, and it did so knowingly. In fact, The Sun’s reporter admitted the falsity. After Knowles viewed the article, he immediately contacted Dickinson. She responded that she could ‘only apologize that someone in London, not me’ changed the story. Claiming that the London editors were ‘wary of saying [Knowles] had definitely met’ his granddaughter, they simply ‘changed that part of my copy.’
“In the same email, Dickinson provided Knowles with the story she had submitted to The Sun. The contrast between the story submitted by Dickinson and that published by The Sun is stark.
“For example, Dickinson’s unpublished story discusses how Knowles and his daughter ‘severed professional ties,’ but that ‘thankfully despite their professional split he remains close to his family and loves nothing more than being a granddad to his daughter’s newborn baby girl Blue Ivy.’ The Sun changes this to a ‘bitter rift with his famous daughter – admitting he is devastated at being pushed out of her life.'” (Brackets in complaint.)
Knowles seeks damages for defamation and breach of contract.
He is represented by Mark Maney with Maney & Gonzalez-Felix of Houston.
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