/ 2 June 2013

Rihanna lipstick gave me herpes, claims New York woman

Rihanna. (AFP)

A New York woman has filed a lawsuit after contracting herpes at a Rihanna concert. Starkeema Greenidge claims she was infected by the virus when she sampled a lipstick offered by one of the singer's sponsors.

Greenidge is seeking unspecified damages for the "mental anguish and emotional distress" caused by Rihanna's signature RiRi Woo lipstick. "This is going to happen over and over again if nothing is done," the 28-year-old waitress entreated the New York Daily News. "I wasn't able to work for two weeks. It cost me a lot of money."

The Harlem resident told Manhattan Supreme Court that she was herpes- and fancy-free when she arrived at Rihanna's May 7 gig at Manhattan's Barclays Centre. But her life took a terrible turn when she stopped in at the concert's officially endorsed Mac Cosmetics pop-up shop. Brandishing a stick of Rihanna's red Woo lipstick, an employee allegedly applied herpes to Greenidge's lips. "[She] didn't use a fresh or new lipstick tube, but rather one that had been used for other patrons," the lawsuit claimed. The Mac clerk apparently told Greenidge to "press her lips together and spread the lipstick around".

Two days later, Greenidge discovered a cold sore on her lip. A doctor diagnosed the bump as oral herpes. Mac "should have known" they were "exposing patrons to possible spread of disease", her lawyers claim. They have called on Mac to start using disposable lipstick or sanitised swabs at pop-up events such as Rihanna concerts, as well as to improve hygiene training for their clerks. The case is ongoing.

Rihanna's RiRi Woo lipstick, the first in a "multi-collection" deal with Mac, was launched in February. Earlier this month, the singer announced the initial shipment had already sold out. Her first men's perfume, Rogue, will debut in September.© Guardian News and Media 2013