A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Maid Looking To “Clean Up” in Lawsuit

 

By Dawn Mikulastik

 

For most people, being the inspiration for a character in a best selling novel would be a dream come true.  But 60-year-old southern housekeeper Ablene Cooper isn’t most people, and for her, it’s a nightmare.

In 2009, Kathryn Stockett’s best selling novel The Help chronicled the lives of Southern black maids and the white families who employed them in the 1960s.  But for Ms. Cooper, who works for Ms. Stockett’s brother as housekeeper and nanny, the character Aibileen Clark hits a little too close to home – and now she’s suing.

Last month, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported on the lawsuit that was filed on February 9 in Hinds County Circuit Court — and gave no indication of how this case will pan out. The complaint alleges “unpermitted” appropriation of Ms. Cooper’s identity, holding her to the public eye in a false light, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. LASIS investigates and asks: is Ms. Cooper likely to win on these claims?

Probably not. (more…)

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