Cardi B awarded almost £3m in damages in libel case against gossip blogger

<span>Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP</span>
Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

The New York rapper said that false allegations made by YouTube channel host Tasha K damaged her reputation and her mental health

Cardi B has been awarded $4m (£2.96m) in damages in a libel lawsuit against a celebrity gossip blogger who claimed that the rapper was a prostitute who used cocaine and had contracted sexually transmitted infections.

Cardi B, born Belcalis Almánzar, sued the blogger known as Tasha K in 2019 for posting several videos that spread “malicious rumours”.

A federal jury found Tasha K, born Latasha Kebe, liable on two counts of slander, one count of libel and one of invasion of privacy (incidentally the name of Cardi B’s 2018 debut album).

The jury increased Cardi B’s damages from $1.25m on 24 January, adding an additional $2.8m the following day. The figure includes $25,000 for medical expenses and approximately $1.3m to cover legal fees.

Kebe’s YouTube channel, UnWineWithTashaK, has a million subscribers. Lawyers for Cardi B also cited a video in which Kebe claimed that the rapper’s first-born child would have intellectual disabilities.

Cardi B testified that the videos made her feel “extremely suicidal” and said “only an evil person could do that”.

The rapper’s lawsuit said the videos would damage her reputation and her business prospects and that Kebe was “obsessed with slandering” her and using her name to get views for her content.

In response to the verdict, Kebe tweeted: “My Husband, Attorney’s [sic], & I fought really hard. I want to thank them for their long hours and sleepless nights … it’s only up from here.”

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According to the rapper’s lawsuit, many of Kebe’s videos about Cardi B remain on her YouTube channel despite receiving a cease-and-desist letter in 2018, shortly after she began posting about her.

The lawsuit, filed in Kebe’s home state of Georgia, also included a guest on the Tasha K channel, Starmarie Ebony Jones, who claimed to be an old friend of the rapper. She was exempt from this lawsuit after moving to New York, where last year she was also found liable to Cardi B on counts of libel, slander and invasion of privacy.

Earlier this month, Cardi B offered to pay the burial costs for the 17 people killed in a fire in a Bronx high-rise building.

“I’m extremely proud to be from the Bronx and I have lots of family and friends who live and work there still. So, when I heard about the fire and all of the victims, I knew I needed to do something to help,” she said in a statement.

“I cannot begin to imagine the pain and anguish that the families of the victims are experiencing, but I hope that not having to worry about the costs associated with burying their loved ones will help as they move forward and heal. I send my prayers and condolences to everyone affected by this horrific tragedy.”

• This story was originally published on 25 January, and has been updated to include information about the increase in damages.