'The Help' lawsuit dismissed
August 17th, 2011
01:03 PM ET

'The Help' lawsuit dismissed

A maid who claimed the main character in the successful novel and film "The Help" was based on her has lost her suit.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, a Mississippi judge dismissed the case of Ablene Cooper, who had alleged that the character Aibileen was based on her. Cooper is the former maid of the brother of the book's author, Kathryn Stockett.

Judge Tomie Green dismissed the case, citing a one-year statute of limitations that elapsed between when Stockett gave Cooper a copy of the book and when the maid filed the lawsuit.

The Clarion Ledger newspaper reported that Cooper, who had been seeking $75,000 in damages, was emotional about the dismissal as she emerged from the hearing.

"She's a liar," the paper reported Cooper as screaming at reporters gathered on the court house steps. "She did it. She knows she did it."

Cooper cited several similarities between the character, played in the film by actress Viola Davis, and her, including the character's name, a gold tooth, her care of a little boy and little girl, and the death of Cooper's son.

Stockett has maintained that the character was based on Demetrie McLorn, her family's former maid who helped raise her.

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Filed under: Books • movies

soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. Dude

    Oh who the heck cares! If she hadn't of come forward with her lawsuit, no one would have known that the character was based on her. If it really is true anyways

    July 23, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
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    July 23, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
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    July 23, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Darleen

    ignorance is running rampant isn't/ain't it?! that actress who played abileen got her big box office money......she got paid very well while women and men vegetated on looking at it and going on with milking the government out of tons of money to set in their fabricated RRHA housing and making money off of welfare and dishing it back into the government run agency making them think they really got something............this is very wrong! I love all people and this book is nothing more than a propaganda tool to place anger and hatred in the hearts further of what is already there to begin with in the hearts of black people................disturbing and disgusting!

    July 19, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  5. Svigor

    Part of the problem people have in understanding the issue at hand is that they're incapable of distinguishing "my life" from "your life." E.g., when this maid told her employer her son died, she made "my life" a part of "your life." In other words, if you don't want me writing about parts of MY LIFE that involve you, don't tell me about them. Don't be a part of my life. The fact is, having a maid whose son died is part of the author's life, and she owes her maid NOTHING for having written about it. N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

    Lawyers run enough of this country already. We should be taking it back, not handing more of it over to them voluntarily.

    It takes skill to write a successful novel (even if it is politically-correct gated-community liberal crap), and none to hire a lawyer to "gets mine."

    February 3, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Same old story....

    This wouldn't be the first time someone of european descent stole/took credit for someone elses talent,story, intellectual property, etc.

    January 27, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  7. WolfM@n340

    I just finish reading these post...... WOW....... I can't wait for the day when the human race is no-longer divided by color. I really hope that the majority of people who wrote these racist, narcissistic, cold, down right ignorant post wake-up from their sad existence of life. In all honesty I hope they never have children. The freedom you hold so high. to speak the way you feel, to write the things you did, applies to everyone. This lady did not know that a statute of limitations existed, how could she. She was raised in a time when getting a good education was just not possible. Laugh at her expense go right ahead and laugh.... I hope and pray that you experience a moment of humiliation... I hope and pray that life falls from beneath you all and some one else comes along and profits from you hardship and leave you with only a thank you and good bye. This time was not to long ago, as you can see Cooper is only 60 years of age and the book mimics her life experience. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4th 1968 for speaking his mind and fighting for this freedom you have to speak the harsh ignorant words you used in these posts. Your word have truly anger me but for you the person who wrote these comments I feel nothing but PITY for you. Good people "Black, White, Brown" will NEVER look up to you, we will never look down at you either, instead we will watch you, just watch...... as I stare at you know...... You may inherit the world...... everything could be handed to you on a silver plate..... but you will never be a happy person... the reason for our pity will be just that....

    December 16, 2011 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. delath

    Noone knows why she waited a year to file. Perhaps she wasn't even aware of there being a statute of limitations. And as for the author, just another greedy moocher making money off other people's misery. That made had a hard life and there were personal things that happened, the auther was wrong to do that if anything she should have gotten permission to write the book since it was so personal. But again. Certain people just take. If she was greedy and was just trying to milk her for money she would have asked for wayyyyyyyy more than a mere $75,000.

    December 11, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jetestcest

    Votre site est très intéressant merci beaucoup.

    November 1, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. cava2965

    I've seen the movie twice now, love it, give Abiline the money though. I feel it was based on her somewhat or why else would the author send her a copy years ago. The time limit may be up, but do the right thing and give her the money, she's only asking for 75k and that's hardly anything compared to what the film's making.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. hunnybee37

    I live in meridian,ms. and if i didn't know any better I would say that you all are from Mississippi so Racist.
    I bootlegged the movie i would never spend my money on such .btw she paid them 600.00 (to split) after her book was published so by her doing that then i would say she should do the right thing and give her the 75k she interviewed them knowing that she would profit really well

    August 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. SKY

    THOUSANDS OF BLACKS AND WHITES HATE EACH OTHERS IN AMERICA.
    MILLIONS OF BLACKS AND WHITES LOVE AND RESPECT EACH OTHER.
    MILLIONS WILL NOT GO ALONG WITH THE HATERS, WE HAVE HAD IT....

    ALL HATER WILL BE CALLED..."BW HATER". ITS THE BW-HATER WHO ARE RUING

    WE WILL CALL A PERSON OUT AS A BW-HATER... LET DO IT!

    August 19, 2011 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
  13. SKY

    FACT: BLACKS WHO HATE WHITES AND WHITES WHO HATE BLACKS – THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE
    RUINING AMERICA. NOW OBAMA IS NOT THE CAUSE THE THE PROBLEMS IN AMERICA.
    OLD RICH WHITE MEN ARE-OBAMA IS THEIR OUT THE BLAME CARD..HANG THE BLACK MAN OK
    JUST HANG THE BLACK MAN BUT THIS TIME HANG HIM WITH HATEFUL WORDS...WE GET IT....
    YOU KNOW THIS IS THE TRUTH..
    .

    August 19, 2011 at 6:31 am | Report abuse |
  14. emm

    Umm.. and what was her reason to sue again?? she may have inspired the author, as all authors get book inspirations from their life, etc.

    she sounds like a moocher to me.

    August 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Truth

    Black people. Nothing more really even needs to be said, does it?

    August 18, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Booo

    Stockett should have picked a name for the main character that didn't so closely resemble this woman's. I say that because often I get delusions of grandeur that I'll finally sit down and write the next great American novel. Then when I start thinking up character names, the first thing I do is compare that name to people I know and think to myself, "I can't use that name because that person may think the story's about him or her and sue." I'm no famous or trained writer and I could think that far ahead. Why couldn't Stockett? And then the real life person is a maid, too? SMH...

    August 18, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Your husbands big weiner is tastyLicious

    AHH HAHAAAA!! What a stupid woman. When it appeared no money would be made, or not much, she wanted nothing to do with it. Now its gimme gimme like a greedy, typical, lazy black. Tough Turds!!

    August 18, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  18. United States

    So did they run you off with your chittletts. You are one mean, rude and selfish person to not feed a child when they are hungry. The neighborhood should boycot your establishment. Why don't you offer them a job since you are speaking of that....have them dump the trash, sweep the floor for some change. But there are child labor laws in this country and evidently they did not have any in the country you are from. What what you say, karma is strong.

    August 18, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  19. OldGoat

    Awww! Poor baby. She didn't get her meal ticket punched. Greedy pig!

    August 18, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  20. Lolita

    Another reason I wont be going to see this movie.

    August 18, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  21. Mary

    @questioner-the bigots r living on welfare, your question to them does not count. They r all losers.

    August 18, 2011 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  22. ted

    She is a bum. Dont give her one penny. And the author should countersue the swine.

    August 18, 2011 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
  23. Ken

    And even if the book is based on her in some fashion, why would she deserve any money? Did she write it, change the wording, make up stories, or do anything to help in writing it? Or did some of what she experience merely serve as a guide that helped the author used in order to build a far more compelling story that what her real life was like? It's not an unauthorized biography of the person. While I can understand her angst in this to some degree, I see no reason for her to get any money.

    August 18, 2011 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
  24. SKY

    ohcomeon- YOU ARE A GOOD EXAMPLE OF SOMEONE STEALING THE BEAUTY OF A TRUE STATEMENT...
    BUT IT WILL NOT WORK.....A PERSON PLOWING THE FIELDS WILL UNDERSTAND THE TRUTH...
    WE ALL HAVE TO HEAR THE TRUTH SEE THE TRUTH AND EXCEPT THE
    TRUTH.....IN THE PASS WHITE PEOPLE HAVE TOOK CREDIT FOR MANY THINGS BLACK PEOPLE
    (FILL IN THE BLANK) .. THIS IS THE TRUTH. OK

    August 18, 2011 at 5:09 am | Report abuse |
  25. babs

    all of you writing hateful comments about this woman, if its her life why does she not deserve some of this profit? especially considering they included the death of her son in the story. i mean come on?

    August 18, 2011 at 3:23 am | Report abuse |
  26. Ohcomeon

    "the things they done?" Keep trying for that GED.

    August 18, 2011 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
  27. SKY

    FACT: WHITE PEOPLE HAVE A HISTORY OF STEALING FROM THE BLACK PERSON.
    TAKING CREDIT FOR THE THINGS THEY DONE. "NO MORE"
    LET JUST TELL THE TRUTH.....THE FACTS WERE PUT IN THE OPEN AND YOU CAN JUDGE
    FOR YOURSELF.......FOX NEWS HATE OBAMA A BLACK MAN AND EVEN WHEN HE CAPTURED AND
    KILL B.L THEY GAVE THE CREDIT TO EX-PRESIDENT BUSH.....I PLAN TO TELL IT LIKE IT IS, NO MORE
    LIES...OK NO MORE LIES

    August 18, 2011 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  28. Erf

    The people calling for the author to compensate the maid are delusional. The woman who sued didn't apparently understand statute of limitations and she lost out. The law is on the side of the author, and no harm was done to the former maid. Why compensate her? "Damages?" Her reputation, mental or physical health, or life was somehow impaired by the book? I doubt it.

    August 17, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  29. dina

    This movie was not just about a group of black maids who were poorly treated in Jackson, Mississippi because this was the cultural standard at that time. It was about the whole Civil Rights movement that changed a terrible situation for human beings.Read between the lines.Racism still exists in many place, not just the south, but a lot of it exists in how our president has been treated just because he is black and some people just can't accept that. Yes, the movie had flaws but maybe it will make people think about what they do and say everyday to people not like themselves.Fight racism in every form.

    August 17, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Rick Springfield

    Lahoooooooooooooosaaaheerrrrrrrr

    August 17, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Paula

    She got paid for her work. She didn't write the book so she deserves nothing.

    August 17, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Katscan

    Seems to me like she didn't think it was necessary to sue until a movie was in the works and it was a best seller. If she was that insulted, she should have done something before it was a cash cow.

    August 17, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Danni

    I am jumping on the band wagon of the group that says, "come on Kathryn Stockett, do the right thing", give the 75K to a woman you know you took advantage of. I think it is more disturbing that people including her, can't see that.
    Stockett actually is behaving more like the character Hillary. I loved the movie but now sorry I contributed to her pile of cash.

    August 17, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Rebecca

    OK, people–for those who say that she is lazy–anybody miss the fact that this woman has worked as a maid all her life? Cleaning up after people, is, in fact, a job, and one that many of us do not want. Please cite the evidence of laziness. Second, it would be her LAWYER who should have informed her of the statute–are you telling me that you're aware of when statutes of limitations will be applied in all court cases? And finally, there is a REASON that fiction books–if you people read–have a statement that any resemblance to a real person is purely coincidental. It is to ward off libel. This woman found the depiction to be a humiliating and exploitative representation of her real life. I had my doubts about the success of the lawsuit given the potential for disturbing precedents, but can you refrain from allowing YOUR clear prejudices to attack this woman's character, prejudices that have no basis in fact?

    August 17, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Questioner

      I totally agree, Rebecca. The racist and anti-worker insults on this thread are disgusting. I wonder how these bigots would like their bosses insulting them on the job.

      August 17, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ziggy Flufferwaffle

      My hovercraft is full of eels. Would you like to go back to my place, bouncy bouncy? I... am no longer infected.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jellomundo

      Rebecca, you are wasting your time. These comment threads on the marquee board are almost always full of adolescents with nothing better to do with their summers than troll. I agree with you, for what it's worth.

      August 18, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  35. idriss tchokogue

    Good that it got dismissed, i'm tired to hear about people who try to take someone else work or cash on it for stupid reason whatsoever. Why did she wait one year to file the lawsuit anyway? Couldn't she have filed it directly, Bunch of idiots trying to take someone else work...............................

    August 17, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  36. GnatB

    I'm no lawyer, but it seems odd to me that there would be any expectation of paying somebody because a character in a (supposedly fictional?) book was based on them. I expect lots of characters in books are based on people who never get paid, and never would expect to get paid. Heck. It could have been the "unofficial biography of my brothers former maid whose initials are A.C." and I wouldn't expect them to pay her anything.

    If you think your life is so interesting that it would make a good book, write the story yourself. Or hire a ghostwriter if you can't write. When somebody turns your average life into a best seller, tough.

    August 17, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Babak from LA

    $75k was not too much to ask for ... I wonder what the truth is? They based it on someone real and it could be her or parts of her personality...

    August 17, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  38. lya

    stop giving ideas out freely. Stop going on tv and giving out free interviews. The news achors are making a boat load of money and you get nothing. If its yours keep it. I read how poor people are always suing. Didnt those kids sue the facebook guy for a boat load of money for an idea and they won. People will always profit off of someone else if they can it life. Hell I would do it. I would pay the person cuz I dont believe in stiffing people. Whatever.

    August 17, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  39. HoglyMogly

    I don't think we are to judge whether it's Abileen's life or not. Most Novelists draw on life experiences to write their stories even using names from childhood. The author gave her the book, wanting her to read it. I went to Iraq in 2003, should i sue anyone and everyone who wrote about the war and had similar experiences?

    August 17, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • librababy

      I guess you should. And then when the no one gives you any money you can take solace in the people on the internet who think you should have got something =p

      August 17, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  40. inmate

    Hernando-I know what job you have for those little kids. You made me, now look where I am.

    August 17, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Phototab

    WOW! No wonder this country is going to hell in a hand basket, you people are plain hateful!

    August 17, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • LR

      Agree....I think you stumbled into the 5th grade forum by mistake, according to what's posted here.

      August 18, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Demetri Buttnik

      Im dropping a couple of butt-biscuits in your little handbasket.

      August 18, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Vanderbilt

    The below-stairs servants have gotten quite saucy as of late.

    August 17, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  43. alecia

    @starrfire :( guess i have to be quicker next time!

    August 17, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Libby

      Racists aren't very "quick" witted.

      How do you get a racist to laugh on a Sunday? Tell them a joke on Friday.

      August 17, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Libby

      Alecia – Racists aren't very "quick" witted.

      How do you get a racist to laugh on a Sunday? Tell them a joke on Friday.

      August 17, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  44. nancy

    What is the matter you people? Are you still living in the 60's. Author should have done the right thing.

    August 17, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evel Knievel

      Oh please, this story could have been about my grandmother's maid or any other maid.

      August 17, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marian Atkinson

      Stockett said the character was based on the maid who raised *her*; not on the maid who worked for her brother. The book is fiction - or better described perhaps as 'historical fiction'. It is a wonderful book; the characters are phenomenal.

      August 18, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  45. justme

    Sometime I worry about peoples inability to do the right thing. It's not like this woman wanted a million dollars or more, it is obvious that this book is about her. Is there a rich person out there that can do the right thing? Ever?

    August 17, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doodee Pot Pie

      Same here. And in this case the right thing wouldve been for this woman to have filed her suit within the proper timeframes.

      She became lazy, lost out and it HER FAULT. I though will offer her a consolation prize of a well place *POOT* <-right in her face.

      August 17, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • JC-VA

      No!

      August 17, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • librababy

      What do you mean do the right thing? Why do people have to hand over money all the time to people who don't have any? This woman wrote a book, apparently a book that was good enough to make her a heap of money, why should she have to give any of it away? If this other woman wants some money, she should write her own damn book.

      August 17, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      Since when do you have to compensate someone because you drew some inspiration from them? Does an artist have to pay everyone he paints? Does a musician have to pay their ex every time they write a forlorn love song? I can admit that the character in The Help seems to have some similiarities to this woman, but that doesn't mean that the core of the character was based on her. Even if it were, I still don't see why she thinks she can demand compensation. Personally, if I wrote a book that got big, I would probably share the wealth with my inspirations a little bit (i.e. buy them some gifts, maybe write them a check). But nothing can take away the truth which is that it was Kathryn Stockett who put the time and work into this novel and no one else. If she doesn't want to throw her money around, that's her business. The court can only demand that she follow the law – they can't force her to be a philanthropist or a better person.

      August 18, 2011 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Jellomundo

      It's not philanthropy. If she took this woman's life story and wrote a book about it, the woman deserves to be compensated, especially if she didn't gie her permission. I mean, she could have at least changed the character's name a bit more! This should be an embarassment to the author. I wonder what the actresses think about it.

      August 18, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  46. starrfire

    Alecia, it looks like hotdog beat ya. Better luck next time :)

    August 17, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  47. It's Good to Be the Queen

    Paging Ms. Stockett: Do the right thing.

    August 17, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  48. alecia

    Firsty! Firsty! Im a little Firsty! No wait! Im a big Firsty!

    August 17, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • UaSucker

      HAHA, you are Not da first! Why do idiots think that they have to post that they are the first to comment? Grow the heck up....

      August 18, 2011 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
    • EricLr

      Sorry, the statute of limitation has expired on your reply. Your firstie status has been thrown out.

      August 18, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  49. Smoke on the HotDog

    !LMAO...she missed her gravy train due to her own stupidity...LMAO!

    August 17, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Libby

    You are easily humored, eh?

    What's the difference between a racist and a bucket of sludge? The bucket.

    August 17, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Rachel

    That is such an asinine comment to make. All maids do NOT steal from their bosses. You would have fit in well in the era this movie was filmed in...and you would probably benefit from a slice of Minnie's chocolate pie. :)

    August 18, 2011 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
  52. EricLr

    Well, that's what a white woman gets for letting her help come in through the front door. If you give them an inch, pretty soon they're thinking you don't have the right to exploit them.

    August 18, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  53. sikofppllku

    Your speech is lazy so why don't you jump on your broom, leave your,(more than likely) nasty convenience store and take some English lessons.

    August 18, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |

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