White House Party Crashers Now Suing Each Other

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Probably not since the people responsible for The Secret all sued each other have I been this happy to hear that former friends are now at each others' throats (legally).


Buffoon v. Buffoon (Photo: nvdaily.com)

Like the rest of the country, I have not been paying much attention to Tareq and/or Michaele Salahi since 2009, when they somehow got into a party at the White House to which they had not been invited. And I only paid attention then in order to loathe them, not with the sort of loathing that really should be reserved for a Joe Francis kind of person, or Hitler, but with a loathing down at the lower end of the loathing scale, maybe more in the disdain range.

Speaking of Joe Francis, just as an aside, I got a press release the other day from his publicist saying he was considering legal action to stop the release of Madonna's new album, the first track of which is called "Girls Gone Wild." It was pretty obviously just an attempt to glom onto Super Bowl publicity, not a real legal threat, but it did make me wonder how exactly I got on that mailing list. I've mentioned the guy a number of times, but he does have a 0.0 percent favorability score here.

Anyway, the Salahis are also poor examples of human beings. Besides the party-crashing, there was a reality-TV show, and then the nonsense surrounding their divorce. In September 2011, Mr. Salahi sent what ABC called a "desperate tweet" claiming his wife had been kidnapped. "I'm scared to death for her," he desperately tweeted. "[I] hope she's not trapped in a place where someone is holding her." She was, but she wasn't trapped, and the "someone" was Neal Schon of Journey. "She wasn't being herself," he continued, describing a late-night call he got from her, "as if somebody was standing over her, as if somebody was right there so something was wrong, I could tell." Again, all probably true, but not the way he meant it. Divorce lawsuits followed.

Now, according to this report, Mr. Salahi has sued his wife, Journey (apparently the entire band) and the Salahis' former agent, saying their actions are — if you can believe this — a calculated attempt to make money by gaining publicity through outrageous actions. What could be more despicable?! Oh, this time it's at his expense, so it's bad.

According to the report, Salahi accuses his wife and Schon of deliberately orchestrating the affair and a subsequent campaign to defame him and "show him as a buffoon" in order to get attention and make money, harming him in the process. (Proving buffoon damages is going to be a stretch here, given that so much has already been self-inflicted.) Salahi also reportedly claims Schon intentionally inflicted emotional distress on him, accusing the guitarist of, among other things, "sending an email photo of a male sexual body part to [Mr.] Salahi on Sept. 13…." Presumably on information and belief, Salahi "believed the body part belonged to Schon."

The complaint further alleges that the plaintiff "received a phone call that evening from someone who said, 'This is Neal, I am [expletive] your wife.'" Which does seem a bit over the top.

Apparently, the rest of Journey is named because Salahi alleges they were part of a conspiracy to defame him, the motive being to revive an otherwise unsuccessful tour. (I haven't seen the complaint, though — maybe he got another call saying "This is Journey, we are [expletive] your wife.") The defendants knew, he claims, "that a public affair would generate interest in both of them and immediate income for Neal Schon and Journey." I think everybody involved is exaggerating the amount of interest in them. "I had no interest in seeing Journey, but now that Schon's expletiving Michaele Salahi, who's got floor seats?!" Really? No.

The complaint also asserts a cause of action for unjust enrichment, likewise based on public embarrassment allegedly caused to somebody who has spent years deliberately embarrassing himself in public. Still, Mr. Salahi's lawyer said, "[m]y client's position is that the publicity is inappropriate." That's the trouble with publicity — it doesn't always turn off when you want it to.