A former employee of the family of the author of The Help, the best-selling novel about Southern black domestic workers and their white employers — not to mention, massive book-club hit — has filed a lawsuit in which she claims that she was humiliated by the book.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
The lawsuit claims Ablene Cooper was the basis for the book’s “Aibileen” character, and that Ms. Cooper asked author Kathryn Stockett not to portray her in the book, and the writer refused.
Ms. Cooper contends she was embarrassed by passages that describe “Aibileen” speaking in a thick ethnic vernacular and at one point comparing her skin color to that of a cockroach.
The suit, filed against Ms. Stockett in Hinds County Circuit Court in Jackson, Miss., where Ms. Cooper lives, seeks damages of $75,000.
“It has been emotionally upsetting and is highly offensive to [Ms. Cooper] to be falsely portrayed in” the book, the lawsuit says.
Stockett says the plot and characters were fictitious. But according to the lawsuit, the book says “Aibileen” is African American and middle-aged and has a gold tooth and has a deceased son — all of which fits Ablene Cooper’s description. Yes, that’s right: “Aibileen” and “Ablene.” Sounds like a big coincidence. We’re going to need this talented author to get a wee bit more creative the next time she creates a “fictional” character.
Read more at the Wall Street Journal.