Editorial credit: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock.com


The majority of claims have been dismissed in the defamation lawsuit brought against pop icon, Mariah Carey, by her brother, Morgan Carey.

The 2021 suit relates to statements made about him in Mariah’s 2020 best-selling memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey. The memoir includes details of Mariah’s dysfunctional childhood, familial tensions, and professional success. Morgan Carey filed the lawsuit in New York in March 2021 alleging ‘defamation and the intentional infliction of emotional distress’ as a result of the memoir.

The lawsuit centres on nine passages in the memoir which Morgan alleges to be defamatory and untrue, and which cover a range of topics including allegations that the relationship between Morgan and his father was a ‘war zone’ and that Morgan was abusive to their mother. The passages go on to say that Morgan: had been in a psychiatric centre, supplied ‘beautiful people with their powdered party favors’, extorted Mariah and took payment to murder someone (although never carried it out). Morgan was ultimately described in the book as a ‘sometimes drug-dealing, been-in-the-system, drunk ass brother’.

Rejecting seven of Morgan’s defamation claims including Mariah’s allegations of Morgan’s drunk and violent conduct and his involvement in a murder-for-hire plot, Judge Barbara Jaffe held that the allegations would not constitute defamation under New York law and that Morgan’s contention that he had not been contacted to verify any of the allegations against him prior to publication was ‘insufficient proof of actual malice’. Unlike in the UK, in the US those deemed ‘public figures’ wishing to sue for defamation must prove that a defendant acted with ‘actual malice’ in publishing defamatory material. Following the seminal US legal case of New York Times v Sullivan, a defendant must be shown to knowingly have published a falsehood or have had reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity.

Judge Jaffe considered that two passages were capable of being defamatory and could go on to be heard at trial – these being that Morgan had ‘been in the system’ and that he had supplied partygoers with ‘powdered party favors’, holding that these statements allege that Morgan ‘committed serious crimes’ and ‘had spent time in prison for a serious crime’.

The claims against the publishers, Macmillan and Andy Cohen Books, were also dismissed by Jaffe as, under New York law, Morgan is required to show that the publishers also acted with ‘actual malice’ in publishing the claims, something which he failed to do.

This lawsuit comes after the 51-year-old singing superstar’s sister, Alison Carey, sued her for $1.25m over the memoir. Alison Carey said that there was no evidence to substantiate claims that she gave 12 years old Mariah Valium, threw tea on her, and tried to ‘pimp her out’.

zoom-in will continue to report on any developments in the case.