Miley Cyrus named in $4 billion class action anti discrimination lawsuit

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Miley Cyrus apologized earlier this week for a photo scandal in which she was seen pulling her eyes up in a photo in an apparent gesture mocking Asian people. She initially defended herself, saying she was just making “goofy faces,” but then recanted, saying she was sorry and that she “learned a valuable lesson.” Miley’s apology is not enough for one woman in LA County. Lucie J. Kim has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of over a million Asian Pacific Islanders in LA County, claiming civil right violations for each. That amounts to $4 billion:

A Los Angeles woman has filed a class action suit against Miley Cyrus, claiming she mocked Asians in a recent photo by slanting her eyes. Price tag: $4 billion.

Lucie J. Kim claims to represent more than 1 million Asian Pacific Islanders who live in L.A. County. Kim claims when Cyrus posed for the photo, she “knew or should have known that her image would be publicly disseminated via the media, which Cyrus knew focused on her private life, specifically TMZ.”

Kim says in the suit, filed today in L.A. County Superior Court, that each Asian Pacific Islander is entitled to the minimum damages for a civil rights violation — $4,000. Add it up — $4 billion!

[From TMZ]

While I don’t think that Cyrus’ behavior comes even close to warranting this kind of lawsuit, she’s become the famous public face of anti-Asian racism. This lawsuit is trying to bring awareness to the fact that Asians are discriminated against and that it’s incredibly hurtful and cruel to make the “chinky eyes,” as Margaret Cho and others call it.

Yes, it can be interpreted that “going after a 16-year-old would just make the Asian American community look hyper-sensitive and mean,” as someone advocating a letter-writing campaign to Disney writes. Miley is 16 but she’s also a superstar and this lawsuit is trying to take advantage of that for maximum publicity.

Some of you mentioned that you think it’s harmless to sing the children’s song “Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees,” but why is this? Why do kids think it’s ok to sing songs about Asians but it’s not ok to sing songs about African Americans? We don’t sing racist songs about black people because it’s mean. It’s also mean to make fun of Asian people, but somehow we’re being “touchy” about this, and the people who are upset about hurtful remarks and gestures, including little kids, should just “get over it.” It’s not about Miley and her thoughtless behavior at this point and has become a larger issue.

Maybe by being a dumb kid Miley has served a greater purpose and will start to bring awareness to how pervasive anti-Asian discrimination is. I don’t think she meant to hurt anyone and this lawsuit will probably get thrown out, but people are hurt by those same gestures and we shouldn’t brush it off as if it’s meaningless. Think of where we would be as a society if we just ignored that kind of behavior against every other minority group in the past. Miley and other young kids should know that it’s just not acceptable to act that way.

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57 Responses to “Miley Cyrus named in $4 billion class action anti discrimination lawsuit”

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  1. just me says:

    There was an Asian dude in the picture and he did not seem too bothered by it. Why the heck are all these people acting like idiots. It was a joke morons just like when people impersonate other peoples accents, way of dressing or the way they act. Why are they not suing the Asian dude that stood there posing for the picture like a freaking dork??? Oh that’s right…it’s because HE HAS NO DAMN MONEY!!!

  2. vale says:

    Maybe this means I’m racist, but I really don’t get the big deal over this.
    I mean don’t Asians have slanted eyes??
    So? I might need someone to explain this to me as I just don’t see the racism behind what is very likely nothing more than a 16-year old’s ‘goofy face’.

  3. Wif says:

    I can’t believe I’m doing this, but I’m going to defend Cyrus on this one. What she did was stooooooopid, but she’s 16. I did stupid things at that age too, until people called me out on it, said my behaviour was hurtful and made me feel like shit. Then I grew. As she will. But to put a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against her…that’s just too much damn pressure on a child. A child! Whose parents probably dangled this career in front of her like a carrot disregarding all the negatives that come with it.

    Miley…pay them out 2 million dollars to go into awareness raising campaigns and learn, learn, learn.

  4. mojoman says:

    Ok, this is getting ridiculous now. I am South-east Asian descent (yes but still Asian nevertheless) and have been stereotyped/mocked more( “me so horny” calls, anyone?) but honestly, $4 billion lawsuit?!*shake head*

  5. JJJ says:

    Do we flip out and throw law suits around when people mock ethnicities on shows such as madd tv or SNL. why haven’t we heard from the lone asian in the pic?

  6. Marmot says:

    Thank you for this thoughtful write-up, Celebitchy.

  7. Syko says:

    Way over the top. What she did was stupid – and particularly stupid to be photographed doing it, when she knows that it’s going to become public. But it doesn’t violate anyone’s civil rights. Nobody lost a job because of it or was denied admission anywhere. It’s just some dumb kids doing the “slant eye” thing. She should have been more careful – I realize she is drawn to a camera lens like moth to a flame because after all, she’s just so dang good lookin’, but she has to be aware that in her situation, stupidity is going to be photographed and spread around. She should have apologized sincerely right at first, whether there was really anything to apologize for, soothed the ruffled feathers. But she should not be sued over it. Just stupidity.

  8. Sarah says:

    Puhleeze! Get over it. She’s still a kid and she didn’t think that would hurt anyone. Kids, no PEOPLE, do plenty of things they would like to take back. Hindsight is 20/20. It’s not like she committed a crime. I’m so sick of this law-suit happy country. And people trying to use people for monetary gain — A la Octomom. Again… GET OVER IT.

  9. barneslr says:

    Much ado about nothing. When did it become the rule that we have a legal right to never be offended? What she did was dumb and insensitive, but hardly criminal. This is the kind of thing mom & dad talk to kids about; we don’t sue because of it.

    The judge should (a) throw the case out and (b) impose punitive damages to the idiots who think that they can cash in on a dumb kid acting like a dumb kid.

    I guess I’m of the mindset that racism, while ignorant, is not a crime that should be prosecuted in the judicial system. Right or wrong, people will think the way they want to and it is up to society to shun those who espouse ugly and ignorant views about other races of people. The last thing we need is the “thought police” telling us what we can and cannot believe and bringing legal proceedings to enforce what the government deems acceptable. What will be next? Will they tell us that it is a crime to believe in God? or a crime to NOT believe in God? It’s a slippery slope and I think we need to get away from it or we’ll all be in trouble.

  10. vale says:

    You know, separate to what I last wrote. The girl is 16. We all did stupid stuff at that age, or laughed at equally stupid stuff. Mojoman’s comment reminded me of the “me so horny” jokes, or the “aww rice again!” that circled around my school, but it’s 16-year old stuff, harmless really.
    This 16-year old was obviously playing with a group of friends, the Asian in the middle NOT doing the face is clear evidence, but she’s being tried and trialed for it. To counter that, people get all judgmental if she dates a 20-year old. The girl is 16 and sued for FOUR BILLION DOLLARS. Can’t really expect her to really be a child anymore, can you?

  11. vale says:

    (Sorry for any grammar mistakes, I was writing really fast.)

  12. Persistent Cat says:

    I think the lawsuit is stupid since no one’s civil rights are actually being violated.

    That said, I don’t think her behaviour is in any way excusable, even though she’s “just a kid.” This is not the first nor second bit of controversy generated by her in pictures, she knows EVERY DAMN PHOTO of her gets leaked.

    16 is not an adult but old enough to know better.

  13. boomchakaboom says:

    Well, bejeebus. Ask Ted Danson and Whoopi Goldberg about it. God knows what would have happened to Miley if she was photographed in blackface. I don’t know what the difference is between mocking one ethnic group and another. Seems a bit lopsided to me.

  14. MomInNH says:

    When I first went out for lunch and shopping with my friend Susan (who happens to be Chinese and Cambodian), I was shocked by the calls of “You love me long time?” and other racist and hurtful cat calls as well as people slanting their eyes as we walked by them and pretending to speak Chinese by saying “ching chong chang” like Rosie got yelled at for on The View.

    This was done by adults, who probably started doing it as children.. Had no repercussions for it and grew to think that it was ok behavior.

    I understand wanting to teach Miley a lesson in humility and respect for other races, but is suing really the way to go?

    They demanded an apology and got a half assed one in return. They say that’s not good enough, so she gives one slightly better than the first attempt. Not satisfied with that, and seeing that she obviously doesn’t mean it.. They hit where it hurts the hardest, the wallet.

    I think she’s clueless about how her behavior and choices trickle down to the young girls who watch her shows and try to emulate her.

    I don’t think that suing her is the right answer, I think if she’s the kind of person we don’t want our children watching and trying to dance like/sing like/dress like/act like (because that’s what kids DO.. I know I did it with Madonna’s style when I was a kid), then don’t let your children be exposed to her.

    Difficult to do when you walk into any store and see her face plastered on every item known to man, I know. But at the very least she is banned from my home, from out television and from my wallet.

  15. MomInNH says:

    dang I miss the edit.. out = our

  16. Wonder Woman says:

    I think the lawsuit is going to far. Yes Miley is a brat but shes 16 and thats expected of her. It doesnt help the matter that she was making the eyes with fellow asians smiling and posing for a picture. They didnt seem that hurt posing with miley. Plus its unfair. Many nationalities are mocked, its not just asians so then you are opening the flood gates for anyone suing anyone for any type of racist remark

  17. manda says:

    Private people can discriminate all they want! It’s the government that can’t! What is this lady going to tell the judge, “she hurt my feelings!!!” There is a cause of action for intential infliction of emotional distress, but I think that it might have to be shown that the person receiving the harm was the intended recipient. And some states require physical manifestations of said distress. This is just crazy…

    Sorry if I’m repeating any other comments. I’m fired up about this!

  18. Dan says:

    In a related story Fat Albert owes all overweight 100 billion dollars.

  19. texasmom says:

    Persistent Cat and Syko — sooo right! Her behavior was bad AND the lawsuit is frivolous. In no way, shape, or form has young Ms. Cyrus discriminated against anyone in this case. She didn’t fire someone based on ethnicity, nor did she deny someone a loan, refuse to lease to someone based on their race or cultural identity, etc.

    There IS real racism out there, but this isn’t it! The lady filing the suit it doing a bigger disservice to real victims of racism than Miley Cyrus, because this kind of frivolous case makes it hard for people to take real racism seriously. It is out there, but cases like this muddy the water.

  20. MoJo says:

    @just me, let’s assume the Asian kid in the photo is the same age as Miley and a) didn’t get the implications just like Miley or b) realized that he would be the only one in the room to fight it. It’s not easy being in the minority opinion.

    And just so you know, the “Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees” thing isn’t harmless. When you’re a kid, it can feel very hurtful.

    I’m glad that she’s getting publicly criticized for it and is being forced to own up to her mistake and may eventually learn from it, but a lawsuit does seem a bit too far.

  21. Ash says:

    Wow. And Miley’s the only one who does this face? This lady is taking it way too far.

  22. Baholicious says:

    It’s squeaky wheel hysterics like this woman who do a disservice to everyone who experiences “real” racism (institutional discrimination, assault, property damage etc.) and anyone trying to fight it.

  23. Max Headroom says:

    Serves her right. I hope this will make the 16 year old become a 32 year old in a blink of an eyelid

  24. fred says:

    Jeez people. I’ve got two things to say:

    Miley – Bad call on your part.

    Woman suing Miley – Lighten up.

  25. NotBlonde says:

    Never heard of this “Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees” thing.

    The point of the lawsuit isn’t to get money people. Think a little bit; use those critical thinking skills you were supposed to develop in college. This woman knows she isn’t going to get any money from this and it’ll be immediately thrown out.

    The point is to draw attention to the Asian American community’s issues with people thinking it’s cool to do or say racist things in regards to them.

  26. L says:

    lol dan.

    someone should send this woman the dvd series of the office.

  27. Annicka says:

    I’m torn on this. On one hand, this is excessive. Is Miley’s little ‘slanty-eyed’ picture worth $4 billion? No. But on the other hand, I dislike her to such an extreme that I would love to see her have to hand over that kind of scratch. Even better if she’s reduced to living in a trailer, where trash like her belongs.

  28. sara says:

    okay…..im going to feel so bad about saying this but is the bigg deal??? i mean she might have just taken a picture for laught she didn’t know that people out there would call that racism she was just doing goofy pic….me my self(as im black) have seen some white folks make their lips look big then taking pics and i dont think thats racist they are just having a laugh i even do it my self sometimes…doesn’t mean i hate my own race it just means im trying to pull of a joke! and if some people think small thing like that are racist dont pay attention to them!!!

  29. barneslr says:

    Yeah, Annicka, I’m not a fan either. But I have no tolerance for fools who look for excuses to cash in for a big payday over nothing, either. While she may belong in a trailer park (along with Britney), I don’t think this is the way to get her there…let her fail on her own merits, not because of some witch with dollar signs in her eyes is trying to cash in.

  30. Chamalla says:

    I agree with Not Blonde – I don’t think this is about the money at all, but I do think it might be the reality check that finally gets through to Miley.

    Teenager or not, actions have consequences. Publicly making fun of an entire race of her fellow humans SHOULD have some consequences – especially when she has millions of little girl fans who believe she is a role model worthy of imitating.

  31. boomchakaboom says:

    An MSNBC reporter (or anchor,I don’t know)had to apologize for using the term “colored” after interviewing the head of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of COLORED People), so it’s never too early for Ms. Miley to learn the lessons of offending someone even if you didn’t mean to.

  32. Anoneemouse says:

    Good! Maybe she’ll stop having stupid pictures of herself taken now. What is this? The third or fourth or fifth time a ruckus has been raised because of her pics? She definitely knows better, I don’t care how young she is. Maybe now she will learn a lesson. This girl is WAY over-exposed anyway.

  33. Jaclyn says:

    Suing Miley for that much money over a harmless photo is just WRONG. Sure, she can afford it, but it’s the principle! 4 BILLION DOLLARS just for a picture?? Honestly? The woman is insane.

  34. Judy says:

    4 Billion dollars because kids were making faces with a chinese kid in the photo with them and he was having no problem. I am sick of these BS lawsuits. The kids appologiozed, said they wre wrong yet there is some freak out there that thinks she needs 4 billion dollars to make her feel better about her self? They need to throw this crap case right out on its ass where it belongs. They are sorry and have said so, why should it cost them a million bucks in attorneys fees and the taxpayers money because some cry baby thinks she is special???

  35. Christina says:

    4 billion dollars? are you shitting me? did someone tell them that’s a lot to be asking of a teenager? pure insanity!

  36. me says:

    theyd better not take her money….that would be so messed up. GET OVER IT. thats RIDICULOUS.

  37. Annie says:

    CB. Well written.

    You know, I initially came in ready to even say, “Hmm, $4 billion might be excessive”

    And you know, it is. However, one, if the lawsuit follows through and judgment is entered in favor of plaintiffs, the likelihood of it being a $4 billion settlement is very low. There will be some numbers, but it won’t be that high.

    Also, for those who argue that this will be a disservice towards those fighting “real racism”. I think you’re wrong. Are you forgetting that not less than 60 years ago, people of Asian American descent were thrown into internment camps? Yes, they were Japanese internment camps, but I can tell you that they pretty much threw anyone with “slanty eyes” (as some ignorant commentator mentioned) into these places.

    Why is our plight less important?

    And you know, to be frank, I agree 100%that this isn’t about the money at this point. It’s about proving a point and bringing light to the racism Asian Americans face daily too.

    We’re pegged as the “model minority” but we’re perpetual outsiders. I was born here, raised here and people can’t accept that my REAL BIRTH NAME is the one that I say it is, it needs to be more “Ching-like”.

    Not that it’s bad if your name IS a chinese name, or a vietnamese name or what have you (rock on! :D )

    And to agree with Mojo, that song really hurts when you’re 7 and kids are in a circle singing it and essentially taunting you with it.

    At 16, you know better. And I stand by the fact that if she knows enough to date a 21 year old, she’s smart enough to know this.

  38. rottenkitty says:

    “Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees”

    Okay, perhaps I’ve lived a sheltered life, but I have never, in my mumblety-mumble years have I ever heard this phrase before.

    I guess it doesn’t matter how stupid the taunt is, if the intention is hurtful, that’s all that matters.

    And you’d think Mylie would figure out by now that every dumb a** thing she does is going to end up on the Internet. She’s richer than god, perhaps she could buy a clue.

  39. Rebecca says:

    I agree she was being racist. Just saying she was making “goofy faces” doesn’t cut it. It doesn’t matter what the intention, the hurt is done. Think of this: how would you feel if you were Asian-American and someone is basically telling you “it’s OK! I was just making a goofy face OF YOUR FACE, cause ya know, your face is goofy!” To assume that Asian faces are “goofy” is to make the assumption that a white perspective is the default perspective.
    People who think that those offended by this should “lighten up” are apparently assuming that this is many of the offended parties’ first and last encounter with racism, when in fact it’s probably something that they deal with on a daily basis. It’s easy to say that something is not a big deal when you will never, ever experience it yourself to know what it feels like; and also, when it’s something you probably do yourself with your friends. Feeling a little defensive? :P

    I think a 16-year-old, even one who is a public figure, should be given a pass for this type of behavior. She is young after all. And hopefully she learned from this experience. But she pulls something like this when she’s, say, 20? Sorry hon. No get-out-of-being-a-racist card for you.

  40. Jenna says:

    I’m still behind the Asian community. Make the chipmunk suffer, please. She deserves to be knocked off her high horse. This deserves to happen to so many other people in Hollywood as well but this happening to Miley… Well it makes me happier than ever. She’s a c*nt that needs to retire. But we can all expect a revealing spread in Penthouse when she turns eighteen to stay relevent.

  41. Mairead says:

    MomInNH – well it’s not off the grass that kids lick it, kids will pick up on prejudice the adults even if it’s not overt.

    This is going to sound contradictory but both sides are equally irritating. It doesn’t matter if there was an Asian kid in the photo. we haven’t a clue if he was offended or not. Maybe he didn’t see them making goofy faces at the camera until the photo was published? 16 is old enough to know that racism is bad.

    Really moronic half-assed apologies aside, perhaps they really were making “goofy” faces at the camera? Maybe it was the fact that there was an Asian kid in the group that added the race element to it from an outside perspective? Who knows, but the snide half-apologies certainly don’t make anyone want to give these kids the benefit of the doubt.

    But she wasn’t the only one in the group pulling her eyes, why haven’t they found who the other kids was and also sue them for $4BILLION in the interests of fairness? Miley is no more able to afford $4Billion than the other kid is. That level of stupidity offends me and so therefore I demand that my hurt feelings be compensated by $4000 by those bringing the class action suit.

  42. loldongs says:

    What Jenna said.

    This is an utterly frivolous lawsuit, but who cares.

    Lay the boots to her.

    Sweet niblets. LAWL.

  43. NotBlonde says:

    It is truly amazing how many people don’t use critical thinking skills. Or just thinking skills in the general sense.

  44. Annie says:

    Again, I think that the person who brought suit is aware that this is an exorbitant amount.

    I think that unfortunately, in this day and age, it needs to be something big for people to even bother to take notice. If it were for $1 Million, it kind of makes my worth seem like…less than a dollar?

    Not that you can put a dollar amount on a person, but I think it’s to show that the Asian Pacfic Islander-American Community IS an ostracized minority group, just like African-Americans or Latinos or anything else (I truly hate the “clumping” but for arguments sake we will move along from that.)

    I mean, do you guys know that the ESSENTIAL holding of Korematsu v. United States (for the ill-educated that would the Japanese internment camp case in the 40s) was still holds? The essential holding being: that a race-based exclusion program founded on considerations of military judgment did not violate the Constitution.

    And only 40 years after the fact did Mr. Korematsu get his conviction overturned? FORTY YEARS.

    As Justice Murphy said in his famous dissent:

    “Racial discrimination in any form and in any degree has no justifiable part whatever in our democratic way of life.”

    IN ANY DEGREE.

  45. vdantev says:

    It’s squeaky wheel hysterics like this woman who do a disservice to everyone who experiences “real” racism (institutional discrimination, assault, property damage etc.) and anyone trying to fight it.

    Funny, I said the same thing (not in so many words) and everyone looked at me like I was daft.

  46. Goddess711 says:

    Oh, this doesn’t look good for Disney, does it? Hmmm…weren’t the Cyrus Klan trying to get out of their contract with Disney?
    Have a great look at the offending pic. She’s the youngest one there. There’s booze in that pic. The Asian guy looks uncomfortable and like a deer in the headlights.
    This is an important lesson for society – we don’t do that kinda stuff no mo’ cuz it offenz peeple.
    I truly dislike this little dweeb but I so love that dress she’s wearing.
    4 Billion? She’s not worth that much, is she?
    Hilarious. I hope Ms. Kim WINS.

  47. Joe says:

    I hope that Ms. Kim’s lawsuit goes through and that she wins. The only thing these spoiled celebrities understand is when it hits them in the pocketbook, or embarasses them in the media. Apologies are pretty meaningless when they’re probably written by her agent, anyway.

    As for all of you making excuses for Miley, you have no clue of how offensive is that gesture to Asian Americans. You are in no position to pass judgement what’s harmless or not, unless you have grown up in an environment where random strangers come up to mock you simply because of your appearance. I’ve lived in this country for over 50 years, and have encountered this more times than I can remember, the first time when I was 8 and couldn’t even understand why. When is this kind of behavior ever going to end?

    There are those who’ve said that we Asian Americans just have to “suck it up” and just accept it. Accept what ? That a lot of white Americans are just racist? That they make hurtful gestures, but it’s all just harmless fun. Yeah, just like 60 years ago whites used to put on blackface and do minstrel shows. Just harmless fun, right? Even if you think this is just much ado about nothing, it’s really really stupid. The US right now owes about 5 trillion dollars to people who you think it’s fine to mock. How do you think these pictures are going to play in China, Japan, Korea, etc. Shouldn’t you be a little more respectful to people to whom you owe so much money? Welcome to the 21st Century, gang.

  48. boomchakaboom says:

    @Joe: Well said, in my opinion. If blackface & minstrel shows were painfully offensive, then where’s the solidarity for the Asian community, ESPECIALLY from African-Americans? Yeah, I went there.

  49. francesca says:

    thins is just one of the most ridiculoud thing I’ve ever heard in my life…
    I’m not a huge fan of Miley…but I can understand that she’s a teenager…she went wrong with that gesture..but it’s not a big deal..oh come on…suing for 4 billion…the lawsuitmaker is just absurd and ridiculous…blame on her…for 4 billion…oh my Gosh..she must to be kidding me…
    no comment

  50. Joe says:

    Hey, check this out.

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com:80/archive/years/2007/0130072clemson1.html

    If what Miley and her bozo friends was no big deal, how come the president of Clemson Collage is all outraged about this party with White students “celebrating” MLK Day by appearing in blackface? What’s the difference. African Americans do have dark skin, don’t they ?

  51. laalipop says:

    LOL!, this is f’d UP!, i mean who sues a child for 4 billion no not million but BILLION! $ that’s hard cash!,who cares? its like when one in my class makes fun of white people should i sue him?!, yea im going to sue him for 4billion dollars i do not get offended by him making fun of me and he’s not offended by me…Partial racism is good for the society (funny side of it not like excessive racism etc etc…)

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