An Atlanta judge has decided that rapper Ludacris will have the final say when it comes to what the mother of his three-year-old daughter can and can’t post about their child on social media.
Court documents filed Wednesday for the child custody case between Ludacris and Tamika Fuller show that the judge has ordered that Ludacris will be able to force Fuller to delete any images of their daughter that Fuller has posted that he does not want in the public realm.
Additionally, the judge ordered that neither Fuller nor Ludacris may use the child in magazine articles, interviews, or crowdfunding sites such as GoFundMe or Kickstarter.
Furthermore, the judge ruled that Ludacris will be the final decision maker when it comes to their daughter’s schooling, selection of doctors, and religious upbringing.
The rulings conclude a long, bitter custody battle between Ludacris and Fuller, some of the lowlights of which included Fuller involving Child Protective Services in the case, with accusations of Ludacris committing child abuse.
In September, legal documents obtained by TMZ show that Fuller claimed that when picking up her daughter from daycare after she’d been in her father’s care, she saw “bruises and abrasions” on the child’s face.
Fuller says she then got Child Protective Services involved, who told her that they no longer wanted Ludacris to have contact with the girl.
Ludacris countered with his own documents, saying that Fuller was lying and had digitally edited photos of the supposed injuries and perjured herself by submitting them as evidence to the court. He also claimed that CPS would back his story up.
Fuller also claimed that Ludacris used his wealth and fame to intimidate CPS investigators.
Whether or not the photo controversy surrounding the child abuse allegations influenced the judge’s decision to grant Ludacris the power to force Fuller to remove any photos he objected to is unclear, but it is certainly an uncommon decision to prohibit one parent from sharing images of his/her child at-will.
Celebrity involvement aside, the case serves as an interesting example of the growing role of social media in the courtroom.
In a time when text messages and emails are not only admissible as evidence in a case, but can actually be subpoenaed just like physical evidence, the private lives and secrets of defendants, witnesses, and accusers are ever more open for scrutiny by a court of law.
The Duke Law journal reported that by 2011, there had been 647 lawsuits where social media evidence played a major role — whether it was Facebook, Twitter, or early social media site, MySpace.
The Ludacris case, however, is novel, as it is unclear whether a judge’s custody ruling has ever included the final decision-making over sharing of images on social media.
Meanwhile, Ludacris retains sole custody of their daughter.