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Offbeat: Paranoid lawsuit attempts to link Apple to Italian mafia


A new lawsuit from a Beverly Hills, Calif., man alleges that Apple conspired with the Italian mafia to secretly track him, transmit threatening messages to his iPod, and insert the word "herpes" into the song "Still Tippin'" by Mike Jones.

Not just his iPod, Gregory McKenna is convinced that many things in his life were bugged, including his bedroom, living room, upstairs bathroom and Toyota Camry. McKenna alleges in his lawsuit that two iPods he owned – an iPod shuffle bought on eBay and an iPod mini purchased in an Apple Store – were affixed with receivers that allowed the Mafia to transmit threats to him.

McKenna believes that these well-coordinated "threats" from Apple and the mafia were accompanied by an uncanny sense of rhythm: Recordings of mafia members saying "I'm going to kill him" supposedly played in unison with a song on the man's iPod mini in 2008.

"The recording of death threats and other evidence," the suit reads, "prove that APPLE INC. conspired with the Mafia and other Defendants to manufacture, distribute, and sell illegally bugged iPods and other electronic equipment to Plaintiff to perpetuate the stalking, extortion, and torture."

Filed Wednesday in a U.S. District Court in Missouri, the 124-page complaint lists Apple among a host of other defendants, including the St. Louis County Police Department, a local auto mechanic, and "unknown agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation."

Perhaps the most outlandish Apple-related tale in the lengthy suit is a supposed subliminal message heard in the song "Still Tippin'" by rapper Mike Jones. McKenna alleges the word "herpes" was implanted into the song "to humiliate, degrade, and cause emotional stress."

In the version of the song McKenna claims he heard, the modified lyrics were: "Tippin' on four fours, wrapped in four vogues, HERPES. Tippin' on four fours, wrapped in four vogues. Tippin' on four fours, wrapped in four vogues, AHH."

The suit alleges he heard the modified version of the song on his Apple iBook G4 computer, Apple PowerBook G4, Apple iPods, and in three different vehicles, including his mother's Honda Accord.

The bizarre tale begins in 2000, when McKenna claims he was threatened by the Italian mafia at a Missouri night club. The suit alleges that the mafia tried to force the accuser into becoming a New York City fashion model.

"We're going to kill you if you don't model for us in New York," the suit says McKenna was told.

"Media sources report that the modeling industry has an infamous "shadow Mafia" that forces models to work for pay after fraudulently putting them into excessive debt, coerces them into the illegal sex trade, and then disposes of them," the suit reads.

The man claims he attempted to call the St. Louis County Police numerous times, but they would not respond to his pleas. His intricate tale includes numerous unnamed FBI agents, a plethora of hidden illegal recording devices, and constant references to "stalking, extortion and torture."

A high-profile, publicly traded company, Apple is hit with many lawsuits, sometimes from accusers who likely suffer from mental disorders. In 2007, a known frivolous suit filer claimed that Steve Jobs had employed O.J. Simpson as a hitman for the last two decades.