First Lady Melania Trump has filed a lawsuit this week against Mail Media, the owner of the Daily Mail, saying that an article published by Daily Mail, which falsely claimed Melania was once an escort, ruined her ability to create "multimillion dollar business relationships" as FLOTUS.
The suit claims that the false article cause Melania to lose "significant value" and "major business opportunities that were otherwise available to her." It went on to say it ruined her "unique, once in a lifetime opportunity" to create these business relationships, The Washington Post reports. Apparently, Melania would have created products in the areas of "apparel, accessories, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics, hair care, skin care and fragrance."
According to the Post, the lawsuit said Melania was about to enter a "multi-year term" of high publicity (yup...that's how I would describe the office of FLOTUS, too). It also says the article "impugned her fitness to perform her duties as First Lady of the United States," althought it's not clear how that would be the case. The suit is asking for $150 million to make up for the emotional and economic damage done to the new first lady.
The suit was filed by Charles Harder, the California attorney who represented Hulk Hogan in his case against Gawker Media—a case that ended with a $140 million verdict.
Daily Mail retracted the article and released a statement in its place, saying they did not "intend to state or suggest that Mrs. Trump ever worked as an ‘escort’ or in the sex business."
But the weird thing about this lawsuit is that Melania seems to be saying she was denied the chance to make a lot of money off her public service role. Previous White House ethics counsel Richard Painter told the Post, "There has never been a first lady of the United States who insinuated that she intended to make a lot of money because of the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity of being first lady."Time points to a quote from the lawsuit that refers to the opportunity of being first lady as allowing her to be "one of the most photographed women in the world," making it seem that the whole point of the lawsuit is to profit from her new role as a national figure.