The OMG Dolls lawsuit filed by rapper T.I. and his wife Tameka ‘Tiny’ Harris ended in a mistrial on Wednesday after a judge hearing the case agreed that inadmissible testimony that came to the jury’s knowledge was unfair and damaging to the Dolls company being sued by rapper T.I and his wife, Tiny.
The Atlanta rapper and his wife, Tameka ‘Tiny’ Harris, are suing toymaker MGA over their line of dolls called MGA. The Harris’ claim that the dolls line is based on their former music band, OMG Girls, in which their own daughter Zonnique Pullins was a member.
The toy maker was sued for violation of intellectual property rights, but during the trial, a witness accused the company of “cultural appropriation,” However, the judge had initially ruled that those claims were not relevant or material to the trial at handover intellectual property rights.
However, the testimony was still shared with the jury on Tuesday, where the witness claims that MGA “steals from African Americans.”
Judge James V. Selna ruled that the testimony was indeed “inflammatory,” as argued by lawyers for MGA, who moved for a mistrial Wednesday, noting that their chances of a fair trial have evaporated. There will now be a re-trial before a new jury at a later time in the future.
The intellectual property lawsuit was filed by T.I. and Tiny almost two years ago as they claimed that MGA’s OMG dolls stole the looks, mannerisms, and style of the original pop music band also named OMG Girlz.
OMG Dolls cultural appropriation
The lawsuit alleged that MGA is guilty of “cultural appropriation and outright theft of the intellectual property,” as it has dolls created that matched the OMG Girlz, a group of “young multicultural women.” Even the images of the dolls match that of the pop artists in the girl group, down to their signature hairstyles, makeup, and outfits.
The trial into the case began last week, but things took a turn for the worse after a videotaped testimony from a witness and MGA customer Moneice Campbell accused the doll maker of cultural appropriation, including stealing from “African Americans and their ideas and profit off of it.”
In the testimony, she also claimed hundreds of people had that opinion of MGA, and she believed it because “people often steal from the black community and make money off of it.”
During the motion for a mistrial on Wednesday, MGA’a lawyers said, “there is no way to unring the bell of the jury’s hearing Ms. Campbell’s emotionally charged accusations that MGA has been ‘stealing’ from the African-American community. Her improper testimony cannot be challenged, rebutted or cured without drawing further attention to it.”
According to Billboard, lawyers for MGA, in a statement, denied the accusations.
“Diversity has always been a key value [at MGA]… We are disappointed that the trial was cut short, but look forward to vindicating our rights in the next trial.”
T.I. and Tiny Harris have not reacted to the outcome of the trial.
Jurors in @MGAEnt v. @Tip heard from a woman who said she stopped buying OMG Dolls because "I did not want to support a company that steals from African Americans and their ideas."
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
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