Witness’ Testimony About ‘Cultural Appropriation’ Causes Mistrial in T.I. and Tiny’s OMG Girlz Lawsuit

T.I. and Tiny Harris cried foul after they learned a judge declared a mistrial in their intellectual property suit against toymaker MGA, Billboard reported.

On day five of the trial, Moneice Campbell, a former MGA customer, testified via videotaped depsosition that she would no longer purchase the company’s products because MGA “steals from African Americans and their ideas and profit off of it.”

Campbell also claimed that “hundreds” of social media users agreed with her and added that “people often steal from the Black community and make money off of it,” according to Billboard.

Judge James V. Selna agreed with MGA’s attorneys that the testimony was “inflammatory” and wouldn’t grant their client a fair trial.”

The trial started January 17 and has been highly anticipated given the context of the case. The lawsuit, filed in 2021, accuses MGA of “cultural appropriation and outright theft of the intellectual property,” stealing the look of former popular girl group, OMG Girlz.

Billboard reported the suit included side-by-side images, aiming to show each doll’s resemblance to the members of the group. The OMG Girlz responded with counterclaims also alleging trade dress infringement and unfair competition. They’ve sought damages and an order blocking further sale of the infringing dolls, according to Bloomberg Law.

“We are disappointed that the trial was cut short,” MGA said, “but look forward to vindicating our rights in the next trial.”

Selna prohibited such testimony to jurors earlier in the trial, ruling such statements “cultural appropriation” and “immaterial and impertinent” to the actual legal issues.

The OMG Girlz rose to fame in 2011 after being signed to Tameka “Tiny” Cottle Harris’ Pretty Hustle record label in 2009. Their colorful hair and eccentric clothing choices made them a popular act among young teen girls, with their looks constantly being recreated.

The same looks can also be seen, almost identically, on the L.O.L. O.M.G Dolls seasons 1-3 and dance dance dance collections. MGA Entertainment’s dance dance dance L.O.L Surprise doll collection also featured a main character called “Major Lady,” with physical looks similar to Harris.

The trial will have 31 dolls featured. A lawyer for the toy giant said there will be mini-trials so each doll can be explored fully.