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Monday, June 17, 2024 | Back issues
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No Malice Evident in Post Story Shaming Rapper

(CN) - Fugees rapper Pras has not shown that malice drove the New York Post to take an untrue swipe at him in a Page Six gossip column, the 11th Circuit ruled.

Using his full name, Prakazrel Michel, the producer filed suit two years ago in Florida after the Post ran an Oct. 5 article with the headline "Ex-Fugee rapper bailed on his own 9/11 benefit concert."

Denying the heft of the article by reporters Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein, Pras insisted he "had nothing to do with the event and has no relationship with the foundation."

Pras also denied that the charity event in question had anything to do with 9/11, other than the fact that it was being held on Sept. 11, 2014.

Another lie in the article meanwhile accused Pras of bouncing a check to the venue hosting the event, Stage 48, his complaint alleged.

Though Pras accused the Post of tarnishing his reputation and putting his various business ventures in jeopardy, a federal judge found that the Post's article was privileged against a defamation action because it contained nonactionable statements of opinion under New York law.

The 11th Circuit found otherwise but affirmed dismissal of the case anyway Monday.

"Because a reasonable reader of the article would have concluded that it presented statements of fact (not just non-actionable opinion), the article is not privileged against a defamation action," the 39-page decision out of Atlanta states. "But because Michel has failed to adequately plead facts giving rise to a reasonable inference that the defendants published the article with actual malice, he has nonetheless failed to state a claim; accordingly, the complaint was properly dismissed."

In a silver lining for Pras, however, the court is letting him update his complaint on remand to show malice.

Though Pras filed the $30 million suit against NYP Holdings and the reporters in Broward County Circuit Court, the case was later removed to U.S. District Court in Miami.

Judge Stanley Marcus wrote the decision for a three-person panel.

The New York Post article about Pras included mention of fellow Fugee Wyclef Jean ending his Yele Haiti charity in 2012 amid claims of fraud and mismanagement.

In 2009, three homeless people sued Pras in Los Angeles over his undercover documentary on Skid Row.

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