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Maid’s ‘The Help’ Lawsuit Dismissed

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 16 Aug 2011 03:59pm | comments
Ablene Cooper leaving the courthouse.

A lawsuit against the author of the bestselling novel The Help has been dismissed by a Hinds County judge. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that a woman is suing because she believes the author based a main character on her without her permission.

The movie version of the bestselling novel The Help was released last week, but its up lifting tone is very different from the scene outside the Hind County Courthouse Tuesday morning.

"I hope she got what she want. She is a liar. She is a liar. She is a liar! You know she did it and everybody else knows she did it. You see how I am hurt, I am hurt! She did it. She did it. She knows she did it," Cooper said.

An Angry Ablene Cooper yells at the media after a judge threw out her lawsuit against The Help author Kathryn Stockett.

Cooper sued Stockett for 75-thousand dollars claiming a main character in the book and film, also named Aibileen, is based on her.

Cooper says she was offended by the portrayal and never gave Stockett permission to use her likeness.

In court, Stockett's attorney Fred Banks says Cooper was given a copy of the book in early 2009 but didn't file the lawsuit until this year.

"She had the book. She had an opportunity to read it. There is no way, under the law, that she can be found to have exercised any due diligence to find out about her rights to sue," Banks said.

Cooper's attorney argued that because Cooper didn't actually read the book at the time, the time frame to file the suit should be changed.

Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Tomie Green was not convinced.

"You have admitted it was given to her (yes, your honor). And she could have read it, but the fact that she didn't read it does not give her relief in the court," Green said.

The judge threw out the lawsuit.

Cooper's son Antonio ushered his mother through a crowd of cameras and reporters after the ruling, promising to continue the the fight.

"The book is about Aibileen Clark. Don't you think that is a coincidence? Do you know any anybody else named Ablene? Do you know any anybody else named Ablene? Do you know any anybody else named Ablene? I am through talking about it. We ain't through with it," Cooper said.

The book The Help turned into a smash hit spending the last 6 months on the best seller list....The movie version of the book, filmed mostly in Mississippi, made more than 35-million dollars in its opening weekend.



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