Ariel Winter‘s mother has denied abusing the 14-year-old Modern Family star—and now she’s suing mad over a claim to the contrary.
Chrisoula Workman, who lost custody of Ariel in October after her elder daughter, Shanelle Gray, accused her of emotionally and physically abusing Ariel, has filed a defamation lawsuit against an acquaintance of Shanelle’s, saying he defamed her by calling her “an abusive monster” in a comment on the Los Angeles Times’ website.
View the lawsuit
“This is a total falsehood,” reads a comment posted underneath a Nov. 9 article headlined “Modern Family Actress and Boyfriend Had Unlawful Sex, Mom Charges” and attributed to Matthew Borlenghi, the defendant. Workman’s complaint states that he is an actor and an instructor at a dance studio run by Gray.
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“The mother is grasping and clawing to find a way not to lose her money-maker, and hide the fact that she is an abusive monster,” the comment continues. “Having spent time with her…these accusations are disgusting, just as she is.” (The comment, which is still online, identifies Borlenghi as CEO and president at Black Hat Productions.)
Workman has maintained that Gray, who’s also an actress, reinserted herself into her little sister’s life in order to take advantage of her showbiz connections. She has also claimed in court documents that Ariel is rebelling against her because she broke up the teen’s relationship with a 19-year-old.
Ariel’s father has volunteered to return home and care for her
Borlenghi did not comment on the suit, telling reporters he hadn’t seen it yet.
Meanwhile, a trial to determine where Ariel should reside permanently is scheduled to kick off Wednesday.
Gray’s temporary guardianship of Ariel was extended last month after the L.A. County Department of Child and Family Services reported to the court that investigators had found evidence of emotional abuse on Workman’s part.