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Donna Summer sues over alleged anti-homosexual remarks

By ALICE CRANE

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Recording star Donna Summer filed a $25-million libel suit Tuesday against New York Magazine over anti- homosexual remarks attributed to her in a recent issue.

'The article published in New York Magazine hurts me deeply,' the former disco queen, dressed in a sedate black suit, told reporters at the posh L'Ermitage Hotel. 'I would never say the things attributed to me in this article.'

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Summer's Los Angeles Superior Court suit claims the article caused her emotional distress and also resulted in the refusal by some radio program directors and club owners to play her new album, released a week before the the article appeared.

The brief article in the Aug. 5 issue of the magazine quoted an 'industry insider' saying that Summer allegedly refused to include a song written for the homosexual community on her recent album, 'Mistaken Identity.'

The unidentified source said the song was intended as anapology for statements allegedly once made by Summer that homosexuals were 'sinners and that AIDS was a divine ruling.'

'That is completely false,' Summer said of the statement. 'I did not say it. I do not believe it.'

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Summer said she had recorded a song several years ago, 'at the beginning of the AIDS benefits, ... (that) was an act of goodwill to show I was willing to help.'

But she said the song was never released because its writer did not carry through with a distribution agreement she made with him. It was not included on her latest album because 'it was 7 years old,' she said.

Summer's suit said the statements in the magazine attributed to her are 'false and defamatory' and were published with 'reckless disregard for the truth.'

Named as defendants are New York Magazine, published by K-III Magazine Corporation; Ara Group, which distributes the publication; New York Magazine editor Edward Kosner and Jeanette Walls, the author of the article.

Representatives of the magazine were not immediately available for comment.

The suit seeks $25 million in general damages to compensate Summer's reputation and for the 'shame, mortification and emotional distress' the article has caused her.

The action also asked for $5 million in special damages to the airplay of Summer's new album.

Summer said she believes the article 'came out a week before the album ... as a stumbling block. ... This is not an anti-gay rumor. It is a personal attack on me.'

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Summer's attorney, Gerald Rosenblatt, said the article has brought the singer death threats, including against her three children, and left her too upset to promote her album, including the taping of a music video for it.

Rosenblatt said the song referred to in the article was called 'We're Gonna Win,' and was offered to Summer by songwriter and producer, Paul Jabara. Summer recorded the 7-minute single and then turned it over to Jabara for distribution.

Both Rosenblatt and Summer maintained that the song was never distributed. Rosenblatt said it was not offered to Summer's producer to be considered for inclusion in the recent album.

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