Clipped: Is Ebony Jones Based on an Actual Person?

The fourth episode of FX on Hulu’s sports drama series ‘Clipped’ chronicles a legal battle Donald and Shelly Sterling fought concerning their properties in Koreatown, Los Angeles. Ebony Jones, the daughter of one of the Sterlings’ tenants named Kandynce Jones, appeared before the press to reveal Donald’s inefficiency in providing basic necessities in the rented apartment. Ebony also added that Donald didn’t provide the necessary services to force her mother to move out of the place. The controversial legal battle between Ebony and the Sterlings is based on a real case fought by the former’s counterpart and several others!

Ebony Jones and Kandynce Jones’ Death

Ebony Jones is based on a real person who fought a case against Donald Sterling. Kandynce Jones and her daughter Ebony’s lives turned around when Donald bought the latter’s apartment building. Back in the early 2000s, Kandynce was dealing with blindness, sickle cell anemia, high blood pressure, and a paralyzed right side. Due to her ailments, the retired hairdresser spent her life in her apartment. Kandynce’s living conditions drastically changed once Donald became her landlord, as per Ebony. “First, the stove [failed]. Next, the icebox. The dishwasher stopped working. The toilet broke. Still, Mr. Sterling did nothing. My mother and I were literally forced to dispose of her own feces by hand,” she said about the predicament in a statement.

Image Credit: The Daily Beast

Kandynce was not the only tenant legally fighting against Donald at the time. Twenty tenants of the businessman, including Kandynce, were represented by the Housing Rights Center when they filed a complaint stating Donald and Shelly didn’t want Black or Latino tenants in their apartments as they preferred Koreans. “It seemed to my mother that Mr. Sterling tried to make the conditions in her apartment so disgusting that she would break down and move. When the elevator in front of my mother’s apartment also went out, Mr. Sterling still did nothing, forcing my half-paralyzed mother to climb stairs at her own risk,” added Ebony. The predicament got worse when Kandynce’s apartment was flooded, only for her to ask for compensation.

Upon witnessing the state of Kandynce’s apartment, the flat manager, Sumner Davenport, reported the same to Donald. “Is she one of those black people that stink?” Donald asked Sumner, as per the latter’s testimony in the case. Sumner further testified that when she raised the need to compensate Kandynce, Donald responded, “I am not going to do that. Just evict the bitch.” While the lawsuit was still active, Kandynce passed away on July 21, 2003, at the age of 67.

Ebony Jones’ Legal Battle

When Kandynce passed away, Ebony replaced her mother as one of the plaintiffs in the case. “Most daughters love their mothers. Few are so inspired by their mother’s fight for justice that they feel compelled to carry it on, even after their mother’s death. I am one of those lucky few. My name is Ebony Jones, and my inspiration is Kandynce Jones, my mother,” she shared in a statement via her lawyer, Gloria Allred. Ebony and nineteen other tenants’ lawsuit read that “Mrs. Jones suffered a stroke caused by Defendants’ housing practices. On July 21, 2003, Ms. Jones passed away as a result of that stroke.”

Donald Sterling//Image Credit: CNN/YouTube

Even though Donald and Shelly denied racially discriminating against their tenants, they eventually decided to settle the lawsuit. While the exact figures remain undisclosed, then-U.S. District Court Judge Dale Fischer described the settlement as “one of the largest ever obtained in this type of case,” with $4.9 million awarded to cover the plaintiffs’ legal fees alone. When the NBA banned Donald after the leaked tape scandal involving V. Stiviano, Ebony supported the decision, adding that the league should take a look into what happened eleven years ago, referring to the experiences of her mother.

“Ms. Jones and I fully support your sanctions of Clippers owner Donald Sterling in the wake of his racist comments. As the NBA weighs further action, including forcing Mr. Sterling’s sale of the Clippers, we believe that the NBA should consider his callous racist conduct in the case of Kandynce Jones,” Ebony’s attorney, Gloria Allred, told the press. Ebony also dedicated her legal battle against the Sterlings to her mother. “My hope is that my mother’s life and her fight against racism serve as an inspiration not only to me and the others who knew her but also to anyone else who needs the courage to stand up to Donald Sterling,” reads her statement.

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