The Hollyweird Legal Round-Up is our weekly guide to entertainment industry lawsuits and lawyerly mud-slinging, written by our legal correspondent, real-life Hollywood lawyer “Buttockus Finch.” (Probably not his real name). This week he takes on Chris Brown’s possibly-fake community service, Rupert Murdoch’s divorce, and your most law-related questions.
G’s up! Ho’s also up! Down with sexism!
I have to be attuned to various sensitivities. For instance, some people will hear a term of art like “c*ck holster” and find it misogynistic or homophobic, when in fact, it is common knowledge that no straight man in Show Business is a stranger to the penis (two words: pilot season). Nevertheless, you’ve always got your “women’s libbers” and “gentiles” ready at any moment to fire up a lawsuit, and not the fun kind.
1. The Fun Kind. These two kids couldn’t make it work.
Sepulchral 21st Century Fox oligarch Rupert Murdoch has
liberated divorced former spouse Wendi Deng after fourteen years of marriage. Underneath my jaded exterior, ol’ B. Finch is a romantic, and the end of any marriage can be considered mother of holy f*ckknuckle fourteen years. She’s been sleeping under this miserable incubus since “Baby One More Time” was a hit. They have two kids together, which means she turned his FX into an FXXX at least twice.
Aaaaaaaand you’re picturing it.
Back to Me. Family law is lucrative, and my affection for lucre is well documented, but I avoid this stuff like a seder at the Mel Gibson household. Even poors with zero community property to fight over get vicious when divorces and custody are involved. Throw in vast sums, large homes and incalculable amounts of self-involvement and being a participant will make you lose your affinity for the human race with a quickness. As a disinterested spectator, however, this particular divorce seems like the kind of case that you’ve been saving your schadenfreude for.
Sadly, it turned out to be a non-event. I mean, the piece in Variety about the settlement is about 60 words long, and that is not a publication known for being terse. After a brief hearing before the judge:
“Both remained composed, displaying little emotion.”
She may have displayed little emotion, but I have to imagine she was at least humming “Hello! Ma Baby.” I consider Wendi the David Blaine of gold-digging: she does the amazing, but afterwards onlookers are not left wondering “how?” so much as “why?”. If I was going to marry somebody for money, I’d like to think there is a list of people I would be willing to turn down, no matter how much money we were talking about. A very short list, possibly nonexistent, but I’ll continue to enjoy my illusions. Wendi has no list. Still, as self-nullifying as it must have been to marry Murdoch, it must have felt like heroin to divorce him.
Theory. My guess is that the former Mrs. Murdoch, despite having signed one of history’s finest prenuptial agreements, got enough money to overpower her urge to fight for more. Plus, in all likelihood, he had surreptitiously recorded every breath she’s taken since the Seinfeld finale. We call that leverage in the negotiating world. She’s got to be disappointed that he wasn’t summoned back across the Styx while she was his beneficiary, but then, she can’t be the only one bummed this guy isn’t dead.
Now That They’ve Lost Love What Are They Gonna Do Without It? Wendert is no more. One assumes that both will move on–they now have five defunct marriages between them, so clearly they love to love. RM is a resilient cat–he got married to Deng after being divorced from his second wife for 17 days, so he’ll probably be giving an engagement ring as a Hanukah present. He’s an 82 year-old reactionary offering low-impact companionship and the chance to become The Widow Murdoch. Ladies, please, one at a time.
About her, here’s the thing: Wendi has hella cash and, for 45, she appears to have kept it admirably tight. HOWEVER, she’d have to be on my teeny list of Not Even For The Money, because if I tried to put it into somebody who has bounced on top of Rupert Murdoch, my penis would secede.
Yikes. I need a brain sorbet to cleanse those images from my mind palate.
2. What Can Brown Do To You? I’ve been waiting for an excuse to describe somebody as a ne’er-do-well, and the wait is over.
“Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James R. Brandlin on Wednesday ordered [Chris] Brown to serve three months in a residential treatment facility and to submit to drug testing.”
“I thought this was a movie site” say the hypothetical dickweeds. Well, we’re not talking about Chris Brown, crooner, we’re talking about Chris Brown, thespian. Recognize.
What Is It This Time? The history is kind of lengthy, but, precís: ne’er-do-well Brown is still on probation for his 2009 UFC bout against properly-rated actress Rihanna. Then, a few months ago:
“Brown was ordered to redo 1,000 hours of community labor that are part of his sentence for felony assault.”
The judge thought he had faked the community service he had originally been ordered to do. Which might be for the best insofar as it involved him working at a Children’s Center. Not that he’s any worse with children than he is with people in general, but his tattoos might have given them night terrors.
In addition, he supposedly punched some guy who wanted a picture with him in D.C. recently, because morons–Brown and anybody who thinks getting a picture with him merits effort. Brown still might get an additional sentence if the California considers that a probation violation.
Jesus, This F*cking Guy. I know, right?
Bright Side, or Possible Downside.
“[T]he expectation for the singer [actor, damn you] for the next few months is to receive treatment and perform community service such as graffiti removal or roadside cleanup.”
The technical legal jargon to describe this is “hilarious,” except that if I see Chris Brown by the 405 picking up Peet’s cups with the pointy stick, I’ll probably total my Maserati, either because I’m laughing spasmodically or because I’ve taken my eyes of the road to aim an Orangina bottle at his head (Orangina: lackluster beverage contained in a tremendous projectile).
Best Part. As with any celebrity case, the people always want to know one thing: “WHO IS HIS LAWYER?” Well CB got himself a good ‘un: Mark Geragos. I say this with the utmost respect–Geragos has a client list most people would not approach without wearing a hazmat suit. Brown, of course, but also Gary Condit, Michael Jackson (RIPederast), Roger Clinton, and Barry Bonds’s personal trainer. Apparently, Geragos doesn’t have enough space on his site to mention his defense of this fun-lovin’ criminal:
He is proud, however, to publicize:
“dismissal of murder charges for the third time for a USC co-ed charged with murder in the death of her fetus; and dismissal of a decades-old murder charge against Japanese national Kazuyoshi Miura, a case christened the ‘Japanese O.J. Case’ by Japanese media.”
Everybody is entitled to a defense, but I’m troubled by anyone who still says “co-ed.” You can call them “students,” Mark; bitches dig that. Also, just a guess, but during the slow-speed freeway chase, the Japanese O.J. probably drove a fuel-efficient SUV.
Scurrilous. Word used by Geragos to describe the accusations against Brown.
Other Best Part. For anybody who gave up on relationships after hearing that Rundi Murdoch went their separate ways, Chris Brown gives you cause to rejoice:
“The singer [ACTOR] appeared in court Wednesday with his girlfriend Karrueche Tran”
That’s right: girlfriend. So when the rest of you taxpayers wake up alone and begin another day of being a decent person, the world’s dancingest colostomy-bag-made-flesh is rolling off of this. True, between the rehab and the court-enforced tidying he won’t have much time to tutor her in modern manners, but I doubt that brightens your mood. Well too bad–I’m not the guy with the good news, I’m just the guy with the news. While you’re accepting hard truths, note: wrestling is fake, and so are cycling and baseball.
3. Reader Mail Sack. I haven’t acquired any new nemeses lately, although one guy on Vince’s Facebook accused me of writing a “run-on sentence.” Ahem, that was a long sentence, not a run-on, so step off, Strunk & White. If you consider multiple syllables too much effort, find some gifs to enjoy. Read Sappho. Do some f*cking thing.
But a couple of you did raise interesting points in the comments section last week. For example:
“Counsel’s work product has become surprisingly sedate.
Could I offer my own legal non-legal non-advice advice? More porn.”
The word “sedate” tweaks me more than you’d think it would, but not enough to make me drop verbal napalm on Martin’s village. Also, it’s a valid suggestion re: porn. Unfortunately, there has been a lull in that area of late. This site more than adequately covered the recent legislative story involving the erotic arts. My only gripe with the post was, when it was pointed out that LA County was “shooting itself in the foot” with the law requiring condoms, somebody should have mentioned that if they were shooting themselves on the foot. Quentin Tarantino would pay to watch.
Fortunately, there will be another porn lawsuit because there has always been another porn lawsuit. Adult entertainment is consistently at the forefront of new technological advances and First Amendment issues. There will more be idiotic morality laws like this one, despite the fact that porn performers contract HIV less frequently than Tyler Perry characters. So be patient, wee Martin. Be patient.
“suing people should be more labor intensive, to make dumb shit like this less prevalent. or all losing plaintiffs should have to fight a speedo-clad Sting set to prog-rock”
Second point first: yes, more Sting. First point: My accounting team and I insist that you stop discouraging people from hiring lawyers. As we learned from Guido the Killer Pimp, in a sluggish economy, don’t f*ck with another man’s livelihood. Also, be fair to my beloved profession–Lincoln and Gandhi were attorneys, as were a few admirable people who didn’t get shot in the head. Suing people is pretty labor intensive already, and if you’re an individual going up against a well-funded corporation, your odds of being outlawyered are exceptionally high. The supposedly socialist media almost always portrays suits against companies as ridiculous; you never have the company saying “OK, you got us, we totally did that sh*t,” even when that’s absolutely true. So this type of suit is occasionally–occasionally–a Good Thing (not a term of art). Plus, complaining about your society being too litigious is a luxury. Trust me, people in Somalia and North Korea dream of that being their main problem.
But claiming carpal tunnel injuries over a few weeks of work for Ashley Madison? Yeah, that’s some bullsh*t.
Happy Thanksgiving everybody! See some movies.