LOS ANGELES (CN) – A filmmaker behind a live black male stripper revue has sued “Kill Bill” and “Empire” actress Vivica A. Fox, claiming she created a copycat version of his show and used social media to slander him.
Jean Claude LaMarre and Black Magic Live filed their lawsuit against Fox in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday for embarking on what LaMarre calls a “concentrated effort” to besmirch his reputation.
LaMarre says that he teamed up with Propagate Content and Fox to create a reality show named “Vivica’s Black Magic” based on his black male revue “Black Magic Live.” The concept stemmed from a movie LaMarre directed called “Chocolate City” about black male strippers. LaMarre says that he made a sequel called “Chocolate City: Vegas” based on the success of the first movie, then came up with the idea of an all-black male touring revue.
“Vivica’s Black Magic,” which was picked up by Lifetime, followed Fox’s efforts to obtain a residency in Las Vegas for her dancers and business. LaMarre says he suggested the title “Vivica’s Black Magic,” directed the pilot episode and planned a 75-city “Black Magic Live” tour to capitalize on the show.
But the relationship between the filmmaker and star floundered when Fox appeared on a New York radio show to promote a live tour of “Vivica’s Black Magic,” LaMarre says. He claimed that he was forced to defend Fox in an interview with TMZ after she said the show was intended for women, not gay men. After LGBT groups called for a boycott of the series and live shows, LaMarre told TMZ that Fox did not mean to make homophobic statements, according to the complaint. He says he then distanced himself from the actress.
According to LaMarre, the interview so angered Fox that she created her own competing black strip show called “Xplicit Minds,” persuading four of his five dancers to defect to her new revue.
LaMarre says he went ahead with plans to launch “Black Magic Live” with new dancers. But then Fox took to Instagram and Twitter to claim that his show was fake, warning customers not to go to it, he claims.
In a February comment on the “Black Magic Live” Instagram account, Fox wrote, “Ladies just know that they are using my name Vivica Fox to sell tix! Enjoy the show but this has nothing to do with me and I won’t be there! Just wanna make that clear as I got a lot of complaints after the … show in LA! FYI!”
In other posts on social media, Fox issued “buyer beware” statements about the “Black Magic Live” show. In a text message to dancer Michael Bolwaire, Fox accused LaMarre of “pimping my name,” according to the lawsuit.
LaMarre says customers canceled their tickets, asked for refunds and flooded his business with complaints.
“LaMarre had planned to use the television series as a springboard to propel Black Magic Live into mainstream entertainment. Fox’s homophobic interview comments and vindictive campaign against LaMarre and Black Magic Live destroyed any economic advantages LaMarre expected to enjoy following the reality show,” the 19-page lawsuit states.
LaMarre is suing for slander, libel, breach of fiduciary duty, and three other counts. He seeks damages, an injunction, and costs. He is represented by Neville Johnson of Johnson & Johnson out of Beverly Hills.
Fox could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday.