New Details About Lawsuit Filed By Two Women & One Man Accusing USHER Of Exposing Them To Herpes After Sex Acts

Photo: BET

Got me like, "Oh my gosh!"

Three individuals are making headlines after filing a law suit against Usher, claiming that he knowingly exposed them to genital herpes.

Celebrity lawsuits tend toward the distasteful and I'm probably not alone in often thinking to myself first that there might be some ulterior motive anytime a civil complaint is filed against a wealthy public figure. But now an overwhelming number of lawsuits against celebrities we would never ever have expected to do be guilty of heinous wrong doings in last few years have bizarrely turned out to be substantiated. Never in a million years would most of us have thought Bill Cosby was (allegedly) slipping women roofies or that Louis CK was (allegedly) locking women in rooms and forcing them to watch him masturbate (and while neither of those charges has been proven in court, let's just say they feel fairly believable by now).

Yet here's why I believe Usher's case is truly unique in a way to which we should all be paying close attention.

Usher's three accusers — 2 women and one man — aren't claiming to have been underage or not to have consented to the sexual activities they say they engaged in with him, which include vaginal penetration with the two women and oral sex with the man, nor are they claiming that Usher is guilty of "stealthing", the recently popular and highly disturbing act in which men remove their condom in the middle of sexual activity and then continuing without informing their partner that they are no longer using protection.

Rather, Usher is being accused of having exposed them to genital herpes without informing them of the risk beforehand.

So, I'll start with some grace for his accusers.

STDs receive a ton of negative press and are highly charged with fear and stigma in our society. I can understand why finding out that one's former sexual partner has one, knew it, and didn't tell you about it would be frightening, upsetting, troubling, saddening, and the like. So, if this is indeed what happened, I feel for them.

I also understand that STDs are no joke. As someone who herself acquired the herpes virus at just 18-years-old, I know firsthand just how painful an outbreak can be, how devastating it is to find out you have the incurable STI, how awful it feels to be saddled with the stigma that comes from having it, and how exceptionally difficult it is to tell potential new partners about it.


Let's talk for a moment about some of the MAJOR issues with this lawsuit.

1. Approximately 50-80 percent of the U.S. population has herpes and that 90 percent of the population has likely been exposed at some point.

And about 1 in 6 people in the U.S. between the ages of 14 to 49 have genital herpes. So basically, if you've had sex with 6 or more people, you've probably had sex with someone who has it too.

Oh, and those stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are from 2010, so if anything, those numbers are likely higher now. Although, the truth is that they were probably always higher. Many people experience either no symptoms at all or symptoms so mild that they never notice them, so an presumably large portion of the population is likely infected without being aware of the fact and they likely never will find out.

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2. Genital herpes and oral herpes are the same things.

One of them just sounds naughtier than the other. Information provided by The STD Project explains this further:

"The primary difference between HSV1 & HSV2 is where the virus typically establishes latency in the body. HSV1 usually remains dormant in the nerve cells near the base of the neck, and from there, viral shedding and outbreaks tend to occur on the mouth or face. HSV2, on the other hand, usually establishes latency in the nerve cells near the base of the spine, and from there, it recurs in the genital area...

'People don’t understand that you can have type 1 genitally or orally and that the two types are essentially the same virus,' says Marshall Clover, manager of the National Herpes Hotline. ‘One type is associated with stigma, the other is ‘just a cold sore.'"

In fact, HSV1 (typical cold sores) might be RISKIER than HSV2, the virus behind most genital herpes!

Because HSV1 lies dormant at the base of the skull, "for some, HSV1 occurs in the eye, causing ocular herpes, and ocular herpes is a potentially serious infection that can lead to blindness. In rarer cases, HSV1 spreads to the brain, causing herpes encephalitis, and herpes encephalitis is a dangerous infection that can lead to death."

So I'll take my relatively risk-free genital strain over someone else's no big deal "cold sore" any day of the week, thank you very much.

3. There is no way to prove when any of these 3 individuals were first exposed to the virus.

As of this time, only one of the three accusers has been confirmed to have tested positive for herpes antibodies.

Even if all three of them did, there would be no way to accurately trace back the date of their actual exposure. The cost of random STI test is too prohibitive for most people to be regularly tested for these antibodies, and unless all three have proof of testing negative just prior to engaging in sex with Usher, and unless they were celibate from the date on which they were with Usher until the date they were tested, there is simply to know when and from whom the virus was acquired.

4. The potential precedent that could be set by this case could have a devastating impact on the entire U.S. population.

Yes, as attorney Lisa Bloom has stated to the press, “In California, there’s a health and safety code provision that says if you have an STD you have a legal obligation to warn your sex partner, and if you don’t it’s a crime.”

Without access to the paperwork Ms. Bloom filed, I can't say for sure, but it is likely that she is referring to Health and Safety Code 120290 HS, which makes it a California misdemeanor for anyone infected "with any contagious, infectious, or communicable disease [to] willfully exposes himself or herself to another person."

Here are just a few examples of additional contagious, infectious and/or communicable diseases that could also qualify under this code: 

  • Candidiasis, i.e., a common yeast infection
  • Acute viral rhinopharyngitis, i.e., the common cold
  • Epstein–Barr virus infectious mononucleosis, i.e., mono
  • Influenza, i.e., the flu

Are we seriously going to start prosecuting and fining everyone who has sex without first telling their partner they have a lingering cold or flu — or is herpes different because of the sex? And if this is the code being cited, why not ask the District Attorney to pursue criminal charges rather than head straight to a civil trial?

Oh, did I mention that back in 2012, Usher reportedly paid a settlement of $1 million to settle a case out of court with a woman who claimed he infected her with herpes? Interesting...

RELATED: Everything You Need To Know About Herpes, But Are Too Afraid To Ask

5. Let's be honest. This lawsuit isn't about exposure to a virus. It's about exposure to the stigma.

Other than among infants, deaths of herpes are pretty much unheard of. An article in the Atlantic explains the potential risks associated with an infection quite well:

"The only times that having genital herpes can be dangerous are when having sex with someone who has HIV (since it can increase your chances of getting HIV) and during pregnancy. A genital herpes outbreak during the third trimester of pregnancy and during delivery may be deadly for the baby if he or she contracts it from the mother (neonatal herpes, it’s called), but it’s incredibly rare (one per 3,000 to 20,000 live births) and preventable with medication and a C-section, according to an article published in American Family Physician."

So when I draw the comparison above to the flu, from which anywhere between 3,300 to 49,000 people die annually in the U.S., it should be pretty clear that the real reason herpes is considered "worse" by anyone is that herpes implies sex, and people in the U.S. just cannot shake that good old Puritanical thought that sex is BAD.

6. The motives of at least one of the three accusers, all of whole are being represented by celebrity attorney Lisa Bloom, appear troubling, to say the least.

Quantasia Sharpton, 21, who also goes by the name Angel Valentino on social media, made at least two questionable posts on Facebook that may be related to her lawsuit.

In the first, shared exactly one week prior to the press conference in which her suit was announced, she stated plainly, "I need some money."

The second, posted hours before the same press conference, lamented, "Enjoying my last couple of hours as a regular girl."

Daily Mail

Then there's what appears to be a Facebook Live chat between a group of her friends, which she joins twice, first at 3:44 and then again at 13:05.

At 11:23, one of Quantasia's friends joins and asks, "How's she getting away with it, though?"

That's quickly followed by the as-yet-unidentified host reading the following comment from another friend who was viewing:

"Quantasia, you did it, girl. You got the world's attention. First, the twins we've never met, then August Alsina, your baby daddy and best friend, now herpes from Usher. You are officially nuts."

And at 14:40, the host says straight up: 

"I don't know you pulled this off. And you so f**king sneaky with it, too, 'cause you didn't even tell me. You kept saying, 'No, he don't got nothing...' The press not watching my page diary good."

Quantasia's reaction? No comment.

And when he suggests she "get a sympathy wig so the jury can feel bad for her like Blac Chyna,"

SO much laughter.

Because it's really funny to shake someone down for millions of their hard earned dollars, right?

Senior Editor and happily-former divorce coach and mediator Arianna Jeret is a recognized expert on love, sex, and relationships (except when it comes to her own life, of course). Join her Sundays at 10:15 PM EST when she answers ALL of your questions on Facebook Live on YourTango's main page.