PageSix reports that Madonna is suing an auction house, Gotta Have It! Collectibles, to block the sale of some of her “highly personal items”– including a love letter to a former boyfriend, the late rapper Tupac Shakur, a pair of underwear and a hairbrush containing her hair. The owner of the auction house is Darlene Lutz, whom Madonna claims to be a “former friend” and art consultant of hers.
According to PageSix, Madonna is reported to have claimed that Darlene Lutz “would have had access to these items on numerous occasions” including as a “frequent overnight guest” in her homes when she was “not in residence.”
“The fact that I have attained celebrity status as a result of success in my career does not obviate my right to maintain my privacy, including with regard to highly personal items,” Madonna says in the suit.
The personal items that Madonna tries to block the auction house from selling includes a love letter to late rapper and former boyfriend Tupac Shakur, a pair of worn panties and a strand-snarled hairbrush containing her blond locks.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Gerald Leibovitz had ordered the auction halted, at least for now.
Darlene Lutz had applied to the Court to dismiss the case on the basis that Madonna admitted during an undated deposition that she had no real reason to believe the items were snatched and that Madonna can’t claim ownership of her “previously worn underwear” because she sent it as a gift to ex Peter Shue in the 1990s.
“Ms. Lutz acquired other correspondence, including a letter from Tupac Shakur (Lot No. 128), directly from Plaintiff’s assistants,” the paper say, adding the items were being tossed at the time.
Lutz’s lawyer, Grossman also argued that Madonna couldn’t balk at his client selling her “DNA”– an accusation she made about the hair-filled hairbrush — when she gives it away freely on underwear.
The Court has yet to rule on whether the case will be dismissed.
Looking at what had been reported in the papers so far, it would seem that there is a risk when any celebrities toss out their personal items to be disposed off in the normal way that non-celebrities dispose their garbage.
If one were sell garbage tossed out by non-celebrities, it will be called recycling. If one were to sell garbage tossed out by celebrities, because it used to belong to a celebrity, it is definitely not recycling as the value of the garbage would have evaporated if the garbage is turned into a different item or washed and cleaned off all traces of DNA of the celebrity.
The fact of the matter is, the items would definitely not have fetched as high a value if Madonna’s name was not attached to those items. Any other form of product advertisements or endorsements would have required payment of fees to Madonna. It would be a strange scenario if the Court were to decide that Madonna has no control over how this auction house uses her name and items to gain commercial benefit without her consent.