Wednesday, a Los Angeles federal judge declared a mistrial in T.I. and Tiny‘s court battle with the maker of the L.O.L. Surprise! OMG Dolls, after jurors heard recorded testimony from a woman who accused the toy company of appropriating the Black community, a subject that was previously ruled inadmissible by the court.
Wednesday morning, MGA Entertainment, the company behind the L.O.L. Surprise! OMG Dolls, argued outside the presence of the jury that the woman’s testimony was prejudicial. This came after the jury Tuesday heard videotaped deposition testimony of an MGA customer named Monise Campbell, who claimed she stopped purchasing the dolls because she did not want to support a company “that steals from African Americans” and profits off of their ideas. In her testimony, Campbell also maintained that she believed MGA took inspiration from OMG Girlz for their OMG Dolls, much like the many other companies that profit off ideas stolen from the Black community.
Law 360 reports that Tuesday afternoon MGA argued in an oral request for a mistrial saying that the court ruled cultural appropriation to be inadmissible and not allowed to be presented to the jury. Wednesday morning, Judge James V. Selna granted a mistrial after stating that he did not believe instructing the jury to disregard Campbell’s testimony that was ruled inadmissible could cure the problem.
“I think it’s evident that there were shortcomings on the part of everybody, including the court,” to get the parties to the point they’re at today, the judge said. Law 360 reports Selna added that he wasn’t impugning any counsel or party in this case.
“For all the foregoing reasons, I grant a mistrial with reluctance. I think it’s entirely proper and necessary,” the judge said.
T.I. & Tiny did not immediately comment on the mistrial order nor address whether they plan to refile the case.
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