It increasingly seems like nothing even tangentially related to the life or death of Whitney Houston can occur without some kind of conflict or contested legal battle. We’ve already reported on the multiple biopic projects fighting it out over the superstar’s legacy. Now, efforts by her estate to auction off the singer’s belongings have hit a snag of their own, with a U.S. District Judge ruling that Houston’s Emmy award can’t be included in the sale.
Citing claims from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences that it retains ownership over distributed awards, and that heirs are expected to return the statues to the Academy if they no longer wish to keep the awards after a recipient’s death, a judge has ruled that the Emmy will not be included in a wide-ranging auction of Houston’s personal effects. Houston won the award in 1986, for a televised Grammys performance of “Greatest Love Of All,” in which she beautifully belted the line—irony-free, at the time—“They can’t take away my dignity.”
Still, Houston fans with a desperate need to own a piece of the late singer still have a lot of non-Emmy options to choose from: the auction includes more than 900 options from Houston’s collection, including her MTV Video Music Award, her numerous platinum records, and even her passport. It also includes a number of even odder items, including a signed Captain Eo poster from Michael Jackson, and a Japanese Disney coloring book apparently signed by the singer in 1990.