March 24, 2016 / 9:18 PM / in 2 years

U.S. rapper sues TMZ for incorrectly reporting he severed own penis

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A rapper associated with the Wu Tang Clan has sued the celebrity news website TMZ for incorrectly reporting two years ago that he severed his own penis and jumped out of a second-floor window.

In a lawsuit filed in Delaware federal court on Wednesday, Marques Johnson said the incident involved rapper Andre Johnson.

Both Marques Johnson and Andre Johnson were affiliated with the prominent rap group Wu Tang Clan, according to the lawsuit. Marques Johnson goes by Andre Roxx on stage, while Andre Johnson uses the name Christ Bearer.

“No one has corrected their story in two years, and I‘m getting sick of it,” Marques Johnson said in a phone interview. “I want to clear my name.”

The complaint seeks unspecified damages from TMZ and other media companies that printed versions of the erroneous story.

A representative of Time Warner Inc, which owns TMZ, did not respond to a request for comment.

Other media companies whose outlets published versions of the story and never corrected them, including CBS Corp, Viacom Inc and Gannett Co Inc, were also named as defendants.

A spokeswoman for Gannett’s USA TODAY newspaper, which published one of the accounts, said the company would review the complaint. Representatives for Viacom and CBS either declined to comment or did not respond to a request for comment.

TMZ posted a story in April 2014 on the incident, identifying Marques Johnson as the man involved and posting a photo of him, according to the lawsuit.

The site later updated the post to reflect that Andre Johnson was the man in the incident but did not issue a retraction, the lawsuit said.

The initial story was widely picked up by other media, and stories attributing the incident to Marques Johnson continue to exist online, the lawsuit said.

Marques Johnson learned of the story while watching a local news broadcast in prison and was forced to go into protective custody, according to the lawsuit. The complaint also said Johnson has had trouble resuming his career since his release due to the negative publicity stemming from the incorrect report.

It was not immediately clear why Johnson was in prison.

Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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