The curious case of the Two Aibileen’s

Posted on August 25, 2011


 **update, an appeal has been filed as of August 20th** More info here

I’m not trying to be funny. 

But after watching the video of the Cooper vs. Stockett court proceedings, what I wanted to know was why Kathryn Stockett would send a note and a copy of her book to a woman who the author says:

” . . . The only word I know to use is puzzling and confusing. I’ve met this person, I think twice, maybe three times, for ten seconds…I’m confused about where all this is coming from…I don’t know this person.”




Quote taken from:

Author Kathryn Stockett on The Real Story Behind ‘The Help’

By Alexandra Alter

What’s the status of the lawsuit that was filed against you earlier this year, by a woman who babysat for members of your family and says that you based a major character in the novel on her, against her wishes?

You know, it hasn’t been resolved yet. The only word I know to use is puzzling and confusing. I’ve met this person, I think twice, maybe three times, for ten seconds…I’m confused about where all this is coming from…I don’t know this person.


But see, if I don’t know you, yet your lawyer admits in court that you sent me a book and a note, why would you do that?

I mean, why would you think I’d want to read your book?

And if it’s a gift, why would it be? Cause . . .you don’t know me right?



But the story gets even crazier when the contents of the note aren’t disputed (strangely enough, neither attorney had a copy or even were in possession of the note).

7:41 minutes  into the proceedings Cooper’s lawyer alleges that the note stated :

“Here’s a copy of the book. My brother loves you, his children love you, thank you for taking care of them”





There’s also this quote by Stockett, though the maid has never been identified. Stockett says this  7:34 into the 10:31 minute Barnes and Noble interview:

Question – There must have been some people who viewed it negatively?
“. . . Occasionally I get some remarks here and there. My own maid didn’t really care for it too much, she said it hit a little too close to home for her.”
Now, who could that be? 
The reason I’m guessing Stockett asked Ablene Cooper what she thought, was because Stockett revealed in another interview that her relationship with her current maids aren’t like the ones she had with Demetrie (and possibly Ablene)


Stockett revealed she had a hispanic maid and a white maid:

Interview by Lonnae O’Neal Parker for the Washington

“I have a Hispanic housekeeper now, and I don’t speak Spanish, so there’s not a whole lot of intimacy there. I have a nanny from Georgia, and she’s white and she brings her daughter.’  They are great friends and work well together, but neither relationship exists in the same fraught cocoon as those ‘help’ relationships in the Old South.”



 From The Clarion (items in bold are my doing)

by Jerry Mitchell

” . . . Stockett sent Cooper a copy of The Help in January 2009, a month before the book was published, but Cooper didn’t read it until some time in 2010.

In February, she sued, alleging the Aibileen in the book had obviously been her because of her name, her gold tooth, the fact she took care of a boy and girl, and the fact her son died. Her attorneys said she was upset by the depiction, including one scene in which Aibileen’s character describes a cockroach: “He black. Blacker than me.”

Sanders said his client didn’t read the book immediately and only learned she was depicted when she read the book in 2010. That’s when the clock under the statute of limitations should have started ticking, he said.

Stockett clearly based the novel’s character, Aibileen, on Cooper, he said.

Green replied, “She may very well be a character, but the issue is whether the court can proceed forward. You must overcome the timeliness.”

Stockett’s attorney, Fred Banks Jr., said the one-year statute of limitations had passed and that Cooper knew or should have known about the contents of the book since she was given a copy.

Green agreed. “She had the book,” the judge said. “She had an opportunity to read it.”–lawsuit-tossed-out

This next info on the proceedings is from the site kingfish 1935 blogspot:

 “Ms. Cooper responded with an answer to Ms. Stockett’s motion filed on April 27. She claimed Ms. Stockett “fraudulently induced” her to “believe The Help was no big deal and the book was rejected no less than sixty times. The response includes a quotes from an 2009 interview (last page of documents posted below) with the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

“When I was writing this book I never thought anyone else would read it, so I didn’t get real creative with the names. I just used people I knew. Some of them aren’t talking to me right now, but I feel like they’ll come around….”

“I was terrified when I realized it was going to be published.”

Needless to say, Ms. Cooper used this statement to argue Ms. Stockett was terrified because she allegedly misappropriated identities and would be found out after publication.”


And there’s something else:

This woman, looks like . . .


this woman. Who's Ablene Cooper


Now, Viola Davis is a beautiful actress who was purposely aged for this role.

See the Essence cover below.

Viola Davis on Essence Mag cover


















To look like this:

Viola Davis saying the line that was never uttered in the book "You are a Godless woman"











Scene from the movie The Help











Even if Ablene Cooper isn’t Aibileen Clark

Photo from The Clarion Ledger

She’s sure not this woman, who’s Demetrie McLorn:

Photo of Demetrie, Stockett's grandparents maid.


Stockett on CBS, a photo of Demetrie is in the background

No way in hell is Demetrie McLorn a dark complexioned woman.
Demetrie also looks larger in size than the description in the novel:
 . . . Aibileen smiles at me from the sink, her gold tooth shining. She’s a little plump in the middle, but it is a friendly softness. And she’s much shorter than me, because who isn’t? Her skin is dark brown and shiny against her starchy white uniform. Her eyebrows are gray even though her hair is black. (Skeeter’s observation of Aibileen’s appearance Pg 78)
I do think Demetrie is Constantine.
And I do think Demetrie’s personality was used for Aibileen Clark in the novel.
But the physical embodiment and part of the backstory is much too close to Ablene Cooper.
Sometimes when you win, you lose.
And sometimes when you lose, you win
The statute of limitations has run out on the novel. But the movie just got released.
If Ablene Cooper’s smart she’ll buy a ticket and park her butt in a movie theater to check out her likeness, or some form of it on screen.
Let me know if you think Ablene Cooper would have a case if she filed a lawsuit based on the movie, which is based on the book (things were changed for the movie, which may help her case. Because the Aibileen of the novel wasn’t a positive portrayal to some, including me)
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