Susanna Barrett, mom of five-year-old Isabella of Toddlers & Tiaras fame, has filed a $30 million defamation lawsuit against three top websites; TMZ, The Huffington Post, and The Daily Mail.
E Online obtained the court documents filed in the Manhattan Supreme Court claiming the three sites made “brazen attempts to sexualize” the young girl.
Isabella, who was the first girl to place grand supreme in fellow Toddlers and Tiaras star Eden Wood’s very own “Cutie Patootie Pageant,” was recorded singing to LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” at a NYC nightclub. TMZ was the first to post the video, and as it usually happens, many websites followed. Two days after they posted the video, TMZ’s paps caught up with mom Susanna in NYC, and she said that “Sexy and I Know It” was a “catchy song” and that Isabella was knew it because she’s familiar with a lot of Top 40 songs. She also stated that Isabella had never seen the sexually charged music video for the song.
Now Barrett has taken her casual defense to a legal one. She told CNN:
“After this firestorm, I quickly protected my daughter by having cease and desist orders sent to most media outlets that ran the story. I intend to clear my daughter’s name.”
In the lawsuit, Susanna says the DJ at the charity event they were at encouraged the young girl to sing the song, and then says it was the websites who actually sexualized the five-year-old with their provocative words:
“Isabella Barrett did not act or portray herself sexually, erotically or provocatively; she was not ‘gyrating’ at a ‘nightclub’ or singing ‘about her sex appeal,’ She did not understand the concept of sex, let alone ‘sex appeal’ and could not have been singing about her own sex appeal.
On the contrary, it is the defendants who, through their articles, have thrust these false and vulgar characteristics on to Isabella.”
She is seeking damages because she claims the websites put her daughter in “serious physical danger, attracting the attention of others who would seek to sexualize a child.”
At the very least, The Daily Mail got one fact wrong. They claimed Susanna was standing next to Isabella in the video, but Susanna had dark brown hair, and the lady in the video (who is presumably the DJ) has blond hair.
What do you think? Did the media sexualize this young girl and turn some innocent fun into something salacious and put her life in danger, or did they simply report on disturbing behavior that could be the result of the pageant industry?
Top photo: Splash News, Bottom photo: Facebook