The battle over who actually invented the infamous 'Grapefruit Blowjob'

The battle over who actually invented the infamous 'Grapefruit Blowjob'

SexOctober 23, 2017 By Isabelle Kohn

In the world of famous and controversial blowjobs, Bill Clinton's oral delight with then-intern Monica Lewinsky has always topped the charts.

Today, however, a new blowjob psychodrama threatens to one-up Bill and Monica's legacy: the infamous, and now highly contentious Grapefruit Blowjob:

Sex expert and educator Auntie Angel is the woman performing the Grapefruit Blowjob in the video. To many, its uniqueness, hilarity and total ingenuity made it the blowjob heard round the world; one viewed by millions people and written about lovingly by everyone from our own sex expert Isabelle Kohn to Cosmopolitan to Huffington Post.

“Grapefruiting,” as it’s often called, is a technique Angel says she pioneered. She tells Rooster she has been performing it on her husband and writing about it online since 1997, and teaching in classes since 2003 when she founded her company, Angel’s Erotic Solutions. In 2012, Angel released a copyrighted instructional DVD called “Angel’s Fellatio Secrets,” in which she featured 10 proprietary blowjob techniques, the grapefruit move being one of them. The grapefruit clip from the DVD went viral online, racking up over 5.2 million views on the original video alone, plus hundreds of thousands more on copycat videos. To this day, the video still receives millions of views per year, which is why Auntie Angel is galactically known as the “Grapefruit Lady” — search “Grapefruit Lady,” “Grapefruit Blowjob,” or “Grapefruiting” on any social media or porn site, and Angel is not only the first result to come up, but the only.

However, recent allegations from comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish call Angel’s historically unquestioned ownership over the infamous grapefruit technique into question. In a video interview with Essence to promote her new movie Girls Trip (starring Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith), Haddish claims not only to have invented the grapefruit technique herself, but that Angel stole it from her.

“I felt like she [Angel] was stealing moves from me, because I’ve been doing that since, you know, 2002,” says Haddish in the video. “I told her about my shit. If she wanna teach the world, then teach the world. I talk about it on stage, I’ve done jokes about it for years, but she demonstrated it.”

To be fair, Haddish is a comedian and may have been joking, but right now, it's unclear whether it was all in good fun or if she was legitimately accusing Angel of stealing her move (Rooster reached out to her and her team for comment but have not heard back).

Either way, Angel's taking it seriously. Her job, her credibility and her legacy are on the line.

“I could lose clients and money from people not thinking I’m authentic. I am the originator and people come to me because of this technique, but people could easily say ‘Oh, I’m not going to Angel because she’s a liar.’ The repercussions of that could cause me a financial downfall. If she [Haddish] isn’t going to apologize — or say she was joking — and set the record straight, they better at least compensate me for what they did to my business. This is how I feed my children.”

At press time, we’ve been unable to locate any evidence of Haddish referencing the grapefruit technique in her stand-up, that she was practicing it before Angel was, or any mention of Haddish in relation to the grapefruit technique that existed prior to the release of the film. That doesn't mean it's not out there, but we sure haven't found it.

Haddish’s motivations for making these claims are unknown (again, no reply or statement from her or), but it seems as though because the grapefruit blowjob is perhaps the most iconic scene from Girls Trip, and that’s it’s currently receiving the most buzz, it would be conceivable that Haddish is using it as a publicity opportunity — the more the words “Grapefruit Blowjob” circulate in relation to her and the film, the more likely they are to seek out out her and the film. We're just spit-balling, though.

At first, after hearing that the Grapefruit Blowjob would play a starring role in Girls Trip, Angel was proud. However, once Haddish started claiming ownership over the sex move, Angel started seeing red.

“I had a lot of pain and hurt feelings,” she says. “I think her motive was to push me away. What really upset me, though, was if this was something she’s done for years, why didn’t she come after me legally? And why is nobody saying that the Grapefruit Blowjob is something that Tiffany taught them? They’re still saying they learned it from my video. Even though it’s making them look good to say they invented this, they don’t realize it’s slapping me in the face.”

It’s a particularly poignant face-slap, because Angel say no one from the movie ever contacted her asking for permission to use the technique. It’s been featured in other films (Chasing Molly, unreleased) and even on Adult Swim, but typically, people reach out to her for permission or licensing agreements that protect grapefruiting as her intellectual property.

The fact that neither Haddish or Universal Pictures, the production and distribution company behind Girls Trip, asked for permission from Angel to use the Grapefruit Blowjob or say it was theirs is certainly frustrating, but thus far, the legality of it is unclear.

“The competing social media space means that claims and counterclaims are giving more rise to defamation-related legal action,” Timothy Driver, President of Legal and Business Affairs at the intellectual property investment bank Contrarian Vision tells us. “Since both parties are public figures, the bar to assert such claims is high unless one can establish malice.”

When it comes to whether or not Haddish, or Girls Trip is at legal fault here (provided her claims are false, which is still unproven), Driver says the factor that would determine whether Angel’s (alleged) property was incorrectly used is the degree to which her idea was copied by someone else. If the expression of the technique is deemed to be unquestionably unique and is copied in exact sequence and form, we could be looking at theft. 

Driver explains you’d need two things to prove that. First, that the theft of the intellectual property was done so with malice, meaning Haddish knew what she said was untrue yet still asserted it as fact with the intent to harm. Second, that the theft occurred after exposure to the intellectual property. In other words, it’s legal if two people have the same idea by coincidence, but legally murky if the person accused of stealing an idea is proven to have done so after being exposed to the original idea .. which is actually easier to determine than many people think.

“Remember, sites have cookies today,” he say. “An IT detective can easily tell if a competing firm or person was looking at the intellectual property and when.”

Angel believes she has a good case, but would rather see Haddish apologize than go to court over it. She’s sent Haddish a cease-and-desist, and hopes for a public apology, some sort of compensation, or worst case — the removal of the Grapefruit Blowjob from the film (although that’s her absolute last choice). And, if she doesn’t receive a response in 10 days, she will sue.

Angel’s going at this hard, because she doesn't believe it's fair to blatantly disregard her ownership of the Grapefruit Blowjob as part of someone else's (alleged) publicity stunt. All she wants is recognition of the zeitgeist she's created, and to clear her name as someone who fabricated her invention. 

“I am not doing this to rustle feathers or to make myself shine," she says. "This is literally just me, a mother, a business owner and a sexpert, who just wants her name to be rectified and not to be shamed. Because at the end of the day, when I die, my name is the only thing that gets left here. That’s what this is all about.”