A $20 million (£15 million) suit has been filed against Cardi B, her sister Hennessy Carolina, and her girlfriend, model Michelle Diaz, by a group of people over an altercation that happened at a beach in New York earlier this month.
Peter Caliendo, Pauline Caliendo, and Manuel Alarcon, who got into an argument with Cardi B's sister Hennessy Carolina and her girlfriend Michelle Diaz earlier this month, have accused the rapper and her group of battering, assaulting, threatening, and defaming them by painting them as bigots. The suit was filed in Suffolk County Supreme Court in New York on Monday.
When Hennessy and Michelle visited Smith Point Beach on Sept. 6, they got involved in an altercation with a group of Donald Trump-supporting Long Island beachgoers who were displaying a flag with the name of the United States President, as the suit mentions. The legal documents filed by the trio also notes that they had gathered near a vehicle flying the Trump flag, with one of them wearing the signature "MAGA hat." MAGA is short for "Make America Great Again," one of Trump's campaign slogans.
Cardi B, legal name Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar, had taken to her social media account at the time to share a video of the altercation and accusing the trio of being racist and harassing her sister and her girlfriend because they are "Afro/Hispanic gay couple."
However, the group has now denied the claim and filed a suit against the "WAP" rapper for defaming them and painting them as bigots through her clip on social media. At a press conference with their lawyer on Tuesday, the plaintiffs insisted that they are neither racist not homophobic.
"We are not racist. We are not homophobes. I am a Roman Catholic. I have no issues at all. Our reputation is ruined. My reputation is our life. It's my name. I sell ambulances," Peter Caliendo told reporters.
In their suit, the group has claimed that the dispute started after Peter approached Michelle to inform her that her Mercedes was blocking the vehicle of Alarcon while noting that Alarcon was donning a "MAGA" hat. The group reportedly told Michelle that the Mercedes did not have a permit to park on the beach, but moments later Cardi's sister Hennessey "sprinted from the beach to the vicinity of Plaintiffs and Defendant Diaz, holding her cell phone and filming with that phone, and shouting foul and threatening language and defamatory statements of said Plaintiffs."
The lawsuit further alleges that Hennessey shouted that she would "beat the f—k out of" the plaintiffs and "bring my people" to beat them. It also claims that she then "sprayed copious spittle upon said Plaintiffs as she raged and stated said threats" noting that she "knew or should have known that her spraying of spittle upon Plaintiffs at a time when COVID-19 virus infection was a nation-wide threat to all persons in the U.S was assaulting."
The suit charges that Carolina "assaulted" Peter and Alarcon and that they "suffered and continue to suffer fear, intimidation, emotional distress, depression, anxiety, humiliation, and mental anguish." The group alleged that Cardi, Hennessey, and Michelle further tried to defame them by publishing the videos of the heated confrontation on social media in a misleading way.
During the press conference, Pauline Caliendo denied Hennessey's claim that she and her girlfriend were told "go to your f***ing country," saying: "We never said that. We didn't say anything about their race."
"We're the victims here," Alarcon added.
Their attorney, John Ray, has said they are seeking "at least $20 million dollars collectively," while claiming that the videos of the incident that have been posted on social media appear to be "seriously edited and manipulated."
"They make their living by going on the Internet and being outrageous and they looked for this incident to create a commercial purpose. That purpose was to make a profit, to make money. That's what Cardi B is all about. That's what her proxy sister is all about," Ray charged.