Sinead O'Connor sued over Prince drug claim

Arsenio Hall is claiming US$5 million (S$6.79 million) in damages from Sinead O'Connor (above) for alleging he supplied drugs to Prince.
Arsenio Hall is claiming US$5 million (S$6.79 million) in damages from Sinead O'Connor (above) for alleging he supplied drugs to Prince.PHOTO: NEW YORK TIMES
Arsenio Hall (above) is claiming US$5 million (S$6.79 million) in damages from Sinead O'Connor for alleging he supplied drugs to Prince.
Arsenio Hall (above) is claiming US$5 million (S$6.79 million) in damages from Sinead O'Connor for alleging he supplied drugs to Prince.PHOTO: NEW YORK TIMES

LOS ANGELES • Comedian Arsenio Hall on Thursday filed a US$5-million (S$6.79-million) libel suit against Irish singer Sinead O'Connor, who alleged on Facebook that he provided drugs for decades to the late pop icon Prince.

O'Connor - whose best-known song, Nothing Compares 2 U, was written by Prince - said she had reported Hall to the sheriff's department in the Minneapolis suburbs that is investigating Prince's sudden death last month at age 57.

"Expect their call. They are aware you spiked me years ago at Eddie Murphy's house. You best get tidying your man cave," she wrote in one of two Facebook posts this week that attacked Hall. The comedian, she wrote, had supplied Prince with drugs "over the decades".

Hall, best known as the host of a popular American late-night show in the early 1990s and as Murphy's co-star in the 1988 movie Coming To America, called the accusations "despicable, fabricated lies" and labelled O'Connor a "desperate attention-seeker".

"O'Connor is now known perhaps as much for her bizarre, unhinged rants as for her music," said a lawsuit by Hall's lawyers filed in a Los Angeles court.

Hall said the accusations were read by "countless people", both on Facebook and through subsequent media reports. He asked for a jury trial for libel, estimating the damages to his reputation at a minimum of US$5 million.

In the lawsuit, Hall said he had little contact with O'Connor and questioned her knowledge of Prince's life, noting she has admitted having a tense relationship with the music superstar.

The cause of Prince's death remained undetermined. On Thursday, Minneapolis Star Tribune and KSTP-TV said the painkiller Percocet had been found in his system. He also had a dangerously low red blood-cell count, indicating he had been ill, KSTP-TV said.

O'Connor is known for her strong views on issues including the role of the Roman Catholic Church, but her social media postings have increasingly caused alarm even among her admirers. Last year she appeared to suggest on Facebook that she had tried to kill herself in an overdose.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2016, with the headline 'Sinead O'Connor sued over Prince drug claim'. Print Edition | Subscribe