Is Suing Miley Cyrus for $4 Billion Really Going to Solve Anything?

February 24, 2009

To put it another way: when one person shouts over the media mess and
claims to speak for all of us, it kinda matters what that one person is
saying. And suing someone for childish racial ridicule can invite, well, racial ridicule for childishness. Lawsuits do not always encourage discourse. Highly publicized lawsuits, like this one, often serve as a tit-for-tat "take that" slap in the face that do little to explore our underlying prejudices and current racial climate. And they're not well-designed to promote a wrongdoer's understanding of the wrong. (Cyrus' second apology wasn't so hot either.)

Not to say that all tolerance-based lawsuits are frivolous. Legal and investigative action is often necessary when it comes to racial discrimination in the workplace, or bias against same-sex marriage, or other cases that broadly affect a community, like admissions quota caps for Asian Americans in the University of California system in the 1980s. Some situations need that extra shout in legalese to be understood as civil rights causes. Miley Cyrus and her "goofy face," while annoying, do not constitute a civil rights cause that calls for a lawsuit. It's just bait for FOX News

That said, I think the little song Margaret Cho penned on her blog is much more effective (and zing!-worthy) than filing a lawsuit. Sending a letter, like Alvin did, is a helluva lot more effective too.




I am more concern about the right of privacy. This picture was taken at a private residence and posted online by someone other than Miley. The contention is that Miley should expect that any picture that Miley has taken of her weather private or not could end up being published or posted on the internet. That in effect she has no expectation of privacy even in her own home.My view is simple. She posed for the picture with older legally responsible adults in a private residence. She did not take the picture. She did not post the picture. And she did not notify the tabloids or Gossip sites about the picture. So was there any intent. NO. In fact if this lawsuit is allowed to go through, then everyones right to privacy could be threaten since in the eyes of the law, everyone is supposed to be treated equally. So if she is sued and looses, who is next.
I personally think that lawsuit is funny, completely ridiculous, and yet awesome and maybe even effective in its purpose. What other celebrity would try doing the slant eye joke after this when they know there are people out there who will sue them for massive amounts and generate headlines about them that they don't want to be in the papers?
and you asians wonder why no one takes your ~plight~ seriously. please. the fact that all any of you activists can find to focus on is a 16-year-old's private facebook photo speaks volumes. how's the view from that high horse?
I'm an Asian-American attorney living in Los Angeles. My legal take on this issue is that the lawsuit is meritless. Ms. Kim and her lawyer sued Ms. Cyrus under California's Unruh Act, which forbids discrimination while operating a business. For example, if Denny's refuses to serve Asian-Americans on the basis of race, it can be sued under Unruh. But here we're talking about a private photo. There's no business connection here whatsoever. The lawyer who filed the lawsuit did a horrible job.BTW, for Kathryn, I agree with the gist of your post. But I'd ask you to think twice about blaming "Asians" as a whole for the acts of one person. Further, on a related note, my take on Ms. Cyrus' picture is "who cares." But if some Asian-Americans as annoyed by the photo, I don't blame them. But the solution for that is to boycott her services, not file a stupid lawsuit.
I talked in a Scottish accent the other I racist too?
how is talking in a scottish accent even related to the issue that we're talking about? jabbzy please familiarize yourself with asian american history and maybe actually read why what miley cyrus did is ignorant and offensive.
@kathryn -- I understand why some people may think the outrage is overblown, and certainly, this lawsuit only serves to underline your point. However, racially-charged gestures and words aren't to be taken lightly.True, this whole Miley Cyrus slanty eye thing seems silly when compared to actual acts of violence, but in the same way that Prince Harry came under scrutiny for wearing a Nazi costume, or the criticism the New York Post is now getting for their monkey-stimulus bill cartoon, there are deep racial and cultural connotations that we all have to be more sensitive to.By the way, you say "plight" as if Asian Americans have never suffered from discrimination or hate crimes before. Vincent Chin would beg to differ.
"and you asians wonder why no one takes your ~plight~ seriously. please. the fact that all any of you activists can find to focus on is a 16-year-old's private facebook photo speaks volumes. how's the view from that high horse?"And you White people (or White apologists) wonder why all your propaganda about diversity, colorblindness, or "post-racial/post-racism society" doesn't pass the laugh test.Here's a better question: How's the view from Denialville, USA?All these Miley groupies have pathetically tried to change the subject from that of Miley's racist gesture to Miley the Celebrity Victim.A multimillionaire, daughter-of-a-country-music star, and global celebrity icon pimped by one of the most powerful media empires in the world (the Disney Corporation) is many things.But a victim she ain't.
Wow Kathryn, talk about being ignorant. Do you ride your own high horse in a white hooded robe? You obviously don't know a thing about what activists do. Try typing "Asian-AMerican hate crimes" into google and educate your dumb ass. I bet you never even heard of Vincent Chin.Now on to the rest of your ridiculous statement, first off, what "plight" are you talking about? Cyrus acted like a racist idiot and people called her out on it. It's called an OPINION. If you believe MC's got a right to her freedom of speech, then everybody else has the right to theirs. Oh and FYI, this might be shocking to you, but not everyone criticizing MC is Asian!Even before this photo crap, people have been ragging on Cyrus for being an overrated no talent. Just read an entertainment blog. Or a music blog. Or a fashion blog (you get the idea). And most of these blogs are written by WHITE PEOPLE. Do you think it's all right for Whites to criticize MC because they hate the show Hannah Montana? Would you say these people have a "plight"?And if you truly believe that no one takes this issue seriously, why did Miley Cyrus herself "apologize" TWICE? Maybe she's actually smarter than you, imagine that!Now to answer the authors question of "is this lawsuit going to do any good?" I don't take this lawsuit seriously for one minute and I doubt whoever filed the suit takes it seriously. It's just a way to make MC sit up and take notice. And if she's inconvenienced for a day, who cares?
Elaine, thanks for this article.The ignorant, one sided *cough Fox News* rantings on the issue that I keep hearing/reading have proven to be more offensive than anything Miley did. Her actions are but a symptom of our culture's racist attitude against Asians. The media's response (or Disney's lack thereof) is what legitimizes it. Hence, I can only take so much of Fox News and can't bring myself to support Disney in any way.
jabbzy said:
I talked in a Scottish accent the other I racist too?
I wouldn't say you were racist because Scottish is a nationality and not a race, but you might be slightly illiterate. Next time try "spoke with a" or "imitated a" Scottish accent.
is this person out of their mind or they are just jealous she is popular and famous?!!!!i hate that miley posted em photos on myspace but nobody deserves to be sued 4billion dollars!!most people never make that in their life time!!!!and it is just greedy for money!!!
this is so stupid i dont like her but still she should not be sued the only reason she is beenin sued is that they want her money and do not like her what about the other ppl in the picure r they beenin sued soo this is so stupid ppl make that face all the time and i not beein sued r noone that makes face is besise miley r nothin 4 4 billion she was just havin fun that wat kids do who ever sued is wasting ther time cause they r not goin to win the case so just leave it a long and leave her alone and if the person that sued her did win she would still have a lot more money than the person that sued but that not goin 2 happen even though i dont like i wouldnt sue her 4 that