Country music superstar Luke Combs reacted after one of his fans was hit with a $250,000 punishment over selling handmade items with his likeness on them, intervening to help the struggling single mom.
The award-winning artist woke up on Wednesday to news reports of the distraught fan, a Florida woman named Nicol Harness who after being released from the hospital where she was treated for congenital heart failure learned that she had been hit with a massive financial penalty by a federal judge in Illinois in a lawsuit brought by Combs.
Harness told local news outlet WFLA that after she went to his concert in Tampa she decided to begin selling Combs-themed tumblers in her online Amazon store, using artwork that she purchased online to create tumblers which she sold for $20 each, earning a total of $380 from the sale of 18 items.
“It’s very stressful. I don’t have money to pay my bills,” she said. “I just want this resolved. I didn’t mean any harm to Luke Combs. I quit selling the tumbler. I pulled it down. I just don’t understand.”
Her Amazon account was also frozen and thousands of dollars of her money seized. “I sent so many messages to Amazon asking for answers but couldn’t figure it out,” Harness said, adding that she then discovered an email from Combs’ attorney in her junk mail folder for an account she rarely uses, giving her 21 days to respond. The October email arrived while she was hospitalized.
But there is a happy ending to the story as Combs apologized and dropped her from the suit after he became aware of the situation. Posting a video to TikTok and Instagram in which he explained that the legal action that Harness found herself swept up in was directed at large-scale counterfeiters seeking to profit off of his name and likeness.
“I woke up at 5 a.m. to use the restroom and the first thing I saw is this: a woman that’s being sued by me for $250,000. I spent the last two hours trying to make this right, trying to figure out what’s going on because I was completely and utterly unaware of this,” Combs said in the video.
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“So, we do have a company that goes after folks, only supposedly large corporations operating internationally, that make millions and millions of dollars making counterfeit t-shirts, things of that nature, running illegal businesses,” he explained. “And apparently this woman, Nicol, has somehow got wrapped up in that.”
The singer said that he spoke to Harness on Wednesday morning. “She told me she was absolutely shocked by this. I’m so apologetic. Talking to her, it makes me sick honestly that this would happen, especially at the holidays,” he said.
The singer said that she told him that the ruling had locked her Amazon account, depriving her of $5,500 that was frozen to go towards the court’s $250,000 she was ordered to pay.
“I’m gonna double that send her $11,000 today just so she doesn’t have anything to worry about,” he said. “She was never supposed to be involved in anything like this. No fan should be involved in anything like this.”
Combs also said that he would add a tumbler to his official merchandise website with proceeds going to “Nicol and her family to try to help with her medical bills.”
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