T.I. and Tiny Harris made a costly mistake in their case against toymaker MGA Entertainment.
According to multiple reports, a judge declared a mistrial due to the introduction of inadmissible testimony on Wednesday (January 25). MGA’s attorneys convinced Judge James V. Selna to dismiss the case after one of T.I. and Tiny’s witnesses testified about cultural appropriation. The judge barred the topic from testimony in the trial.
“Because of the incurably prejudicial cultural appropriation deposition testimony played to the jury by Counter-Claimants, this Court must declare a mistrial,” the judge wrote. “The previously excluded testimony was nothing less than a rant by the witness about how she ‘stopped purchasing’ the OMG Dolls ‘because [she] did not want to support a company that steals from African Americans and their ideas and profit off it and don’t give African Americans the profit.’”
He added, “The prejudicial nature of this testimony accusing MGA of racist cultural appropriation cannot be understated. There is no unringing the bell, no way for MGA to counter the improper testimony and no instruction the Court can give to cure this problem.”
T.I. and Tiny faced off with MGA in a lawsuit over the company’s OMG Dolls. The couple claimed the toymaker stole the likeness of the OMG Girlz group, which Tiny created.
“This is a straight up & down infringement case on @omggirlz likeness & their creation that we all worked so hard to build,” Tiny wrote on Instagram. “Only to be snatched by a big company with no remorse. I am only fighting for what’s right on behalf of the Girlz & us!!”
T.I. and Tiny’s dispute with MGA went to trial on January 17. The husband and wife sought compensation for the OMG Dolls before their case ended in a mistrial.