Frank Ocean's Father Accuses Singer Of Libel, Seeks Damages In An Unusual Lawsuit

Feb 3, 2017

In a suit filed yesterday in the Central District of California, Calvin Cooksey — representing himself in the case — has accused Frank Ocean of libel over a blog post published on Ocean's Tumblr. The post, a reaction to the Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando last summer, outlines a scene in a diner in which Cooksey disparaged LGBTQ persons after being served by a transgender waitress, then dragged the 6-year-old Ocean (now 29) out of the restaurant. Cooksey is seeking $14.5 million in the case, which he says damaged his entertainment career. Cooksey is also Frank Ocean's father.

The suit's initial filings are rife with circuitous logic and bizarre language. Cooksey says he "never had a problem with any member of the 'LBGT' [sic] in Plaintiff's life, with the acceptation [sic] of Defendant" — a statement which may contradict Cooksey's claim of holding no discriminatory views, the basis of his suit. Cooksey accuses Ocean of hypocrisy stemming from Ocean's relationship with Tyler, the Creator, whom Cooksey says also should have been accused of homophobia in the offending Tumblr post due to lyrics of Tyler's that could be interpreted as homophobic. Cooksey writes:

Prior to that, Cooksey apologizes for Ocean's sins:

Cooksey accuses Ocean of deceiving the Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights organization, as well as Ellen DeGeneres — a "very good dancer" — based on Ocean's supposedly hypocritical relationship with Tyler.

A New York Times profile from 2013 references Ocean's frayed relationship with Cooksey, writing that "his father split without explanation when he was 6, and Ocean would say nothing about that to me other than that his dad was a failed musician who 'went crazy' and made questionable hairstyle choices."

Cooksey also sued Russell Simmons, co-founder of the legendary hip-hop label Def Jam, for libel, defamation and emotional distress in 2014. That case was dismissed by Judge Loretta A. Preska that same year, and is currently on appeal.

A request for comment from Ocean's management was not immediately returned.

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