Considering his stature as an international music star, it’s never especially surprising to find Kid Rock in the news. But last week, Rock made his way into headlines for a rather dubious reason, as he was forced to pay out $40,000 to a man named Harlen Akins, who sued him for his involvement in a brawl that took place at an Atlanta-area Waffle House in 2007.
Fans may have been a little surprised that the rap-rocker was so deeply involved in the case — he appeared in court to testify on his own behalf — seeing that Akins was only seeking $6,000 in medical costs. So why did he get personally involved in the proceedings?
“Do people really think I was down there because I was being sued for $6,000?” Rock (born Robert Ritchie) asked MTV News’ Tim Kash during their conversation Monday. “They wanted $2.9 million in punitive damages. But that didn’t get printed anywhere. I had no choice but to go down there and state our side of the story. At the end of the day, they wanted $2.9 million and they got $40,000. I consider that justice done.”
Though he was put in a place where he had to defend himself, Rock said he has warm feelings regarding his experience with the justice system. “I’m so happy to live in a country where I can put 12 people that I don’t know on a stand in a place far away from my hometown and be judged by them,” he explained. “I’m very thankful to be in this country and to have that happen.”
With the court case behind him, Rock can focus on the tasks at hand. Lately, he has been performing for U.S. troops stationed around the world, and he recently completed work on his new album, Born Free, which is scheduled to hit stores November 16. The recording features guest appearances by an eclectic batch of collaborators, including T.I., Martina McBride, Sheryl Crow and Bob Seger. The album was produced by Rick Rubin and will include elements of rock, country and hip-hop.
As for the lawsuit, Rock is just happy it’s behind him. “It was a little squabble at a Waffle House. It’s more silly than anything,” Rock said. “There’s some things that happened that I would probably do differently the next time, but at the end of the day, I’ll always defend a woman’s honor or my family or friends. I’m just glad it worked out the way it did.”