Reality TV personalities Kim and Khloe Kardashian and Kris and Kylie Jenner found themselves in a decidedly different environment Monday, sitting in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom as jury selection began in trial of a defamation lawsuit filed against them by model Blac Chyna.
Chyna, whose real name is Angela White, claims the four socialites made false statements about her, causing her to lose considerable money from the cancellation of the “Rob & Chyna” show — a reality series the model appeared in with former fiance Rob Kardashian.
The lawsuit alleges defamation and interference with prospective economic advantage.
Chyna alleges the four women falsely claimed she physically abused Rob Kardashian while they were a couple. Rob Kardashian recently dropped a separate lawsuit he filed against Chyna over the alleged beating.
In her suit brought in November 2017, Chyna maintains that E! would have gone forward with a second season of “Rob & Chyna” but for the allegedly false statements made against her by the Kardashian and Jenner women to network representatives in late 2016 and early 2017.
“Although Kris Jenner was the ringleader, her three daughters all played a role in getting Chyna’s show canceled, to their immense financial benefit,” Blac Chyna’s attorney, Lynne Ciani, said in a statement last week ahead of the trial. “And they knew they did not have the legal right to cancel Chyna’s show: All four defendants carried out their illegal activity in secret and repeatedly lied to Chyna’s face.”
The defendants’ alleged ruse was “so elaborate and conniving” that they instructed the Bunim Murray film crew not to have Chyna in any shots, but told her she was still filming for season two of “Rob & Chyna” and for “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” according to Ciani.
“Chyna went from being the star on E!’s number-one hit show at $92,500 per episode to being off the airwaves entirely,” Ciani said. “The defendants’ illegal conduct not only cost Chyna millions and millions of dollars, their conduct was emotionally devastating to her. Kris Jenner was like a second mother to Chyna and Kim had been her BFF for years. The extreme betrayal and humiliation felt by Chyna after discovering the truth about what the defendants did to her lingers to this day.”
The Jenners and Kardashians are all expected to testify during the trial, along with “Rob & Chyna” producer Ryan Seacrest.
Chyna is expected to be the first witness called to the stand once a jury is seated.
Defense attorney Michael G. Rhodes told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory W. Alarcon earlier this month he made a settlement offer to Chyna on behalf of the Kardashians/Jenners, but it was rejected.
Chyna has also made a revenge porn claim against Rob Kardashian, but that portion of the suit will be tried after the trial of the defamation case against his family members. Chyna alleges that in July 2017, Rob Kardashian used social media to post pictures of Chyna’s naked breasts, backside and genitals. He also accused her of sleeping with another man in “the same bed Chyna and I made our baby in.” He later took down some of the photos.
Chyna, 33, and Rob Kardashian, 35, began dating in January 2016. The two broke up in the summer of 2017. They have a daughter, Dream Renee, who is 5 years old.