Former Fugees member Pras Michel is preparing a defamation lawsuit against several companies including Rolling Stone, 50 Cent and Kyrie Irving.
Lawyers for Pras sent letters to representatives of the three companies, one of which was obtained by the Los Angeles Times. The letters focused on social media posts on Instagram and Twitter, as well as a Rolling Stone article that allegedly contained defamatory comments about the rapper, including “rat,” “government whistleblower,” and “FBI whistleblower.”
“It is and was absolutely and demonstrably wrong for you to publish that Michel was a ‘government informant,'” read the letter sent to Rolling Stone. after for the LA Times. “To label a hip-hop artist like Michel whose reputation rests on ‘street cred’ rather than being a ‘top dog’ and leads a ‘government whistleblower’ to buy that hip-hop artist certainly subject to hatred and suspicion. Mockery, contempt and/or disgrace and violation of their trade or profession.”
The allegations themselves are based on statements made by Pras Michel during criminal proceedings in April 2023. Michel was convicted on various charges related to a foreign influence scheme. “I made it my business to file a complaint because I thought the FBI should know,” Michel testified on the witness stand, citing his reason for contacting the government during the plan.
Reporting the trial, Rolling Stone labeled the rapper an “informal FBI whistleblower.” The article was later amended to read that Michel “voluntarily met with the FBI,” removing the loaded whistleblower language.
50 Cent is named in the lawsuit for sharing a screenshot of a hip-hop blog post with the headline naming Pras Michel an FBI whistleblower. “I knew that idiot was a rat! I’m glad I never messed with this guy,” the captioned Instagram post read. The post was later deleted. Kyrie Irving made the same mistake and ran a headline reading “An entire FBI whistleblower was in the Fugees for so long?” in reference to the rapper and his testimony.