Society Magazine

Ne-Yo at Center of Defamation Dispute

Posted on the 21 March 2013 by Azharnadeem

R&B recording artist Ne-Yo, born Shaffer Chimere Smith, is currently at the center of a furor involving DNA paternity testing and Ne-Yo’s VH1 “Behind the Music” special.

NeYo2Who is Ne-Yo?

Ne-Yo started out as a songwriter and first drew the attention of Def Jam records after writing the hit single “Let Me Love You” for the R&B singer Mario. This led to a debut album of his own released by Def Jam records in 2006 followed by a string of hits and a Grammy Award. Now, he is facing a defamation lawsuit filed by a woman named Jesseca White. White and Ne-Yo were sharing custody of a child named Chimere whom Ne-Yo believed to be his. However, a DNA test told a different story.

He Said, She Said

Courthouse New Service reports the story as follows. White and Smith were in a relationship together, but it was not an exclusive one. White says she told Smith that the father of the child could be someone else. Despite having informed Smith of this possibility, White claims that Smith accepted responsibility for the child. In 2005, he signed a declaration of paternity.

However, in 2009, DNA testing revealed that the child did indeed have a different father. White says that at that time, Smith quietly agreed to a child support settlement that was supposed to remain confidential.

White is alleging defamation because the story Smith related on his “Behind the Music” special was significantly different in a number of details.

Smith’s story strays far from the quietly negotiated agreements and honest disclosures that White recalls. White claims that Ne-Yo painted a picture of her on VH1 as a woman who cheated and lied to him, misleading him with the belief that he was the biological father of her child for the sole purpose of getting as much money from him as she possibly could. Furthermore, she alleged that Smith’s reason for doing this was to protect his image and to promote the sales of his latest album titled “R.E.D.”

White’s allegations about the promotional value of the attack may be supported by the fact that the album sold better and got better reviews than Smith’s previous album.

White Claims Emotional Distress

White, who works as a photographer and a designer, also says that her professional reputation has been hurt by Twitter attacks both from and fueled by Ne-Yo. Ne-Yo’s followers and fans have been attacking White online as well.

White is asking for damages for a number of charges. She is citing defamation, breach of contract, false light portrayal, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress. White says that she was unable to remain in her home and instead had to stay at her mother’s house and in hotels because she was afraid of the anger directed at her.

The amount of money the suit is demanding remains currently unspecified.

Image Credit: Lunchbox LP

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