ATLANTA (CN)- The former manager of the R&B Group TLC claims the producers of a VH1 biopic film defamed her by portraying her as an “unethical and dishonest businesswoman” who exploited the three singers for her own personal gain.
In a lawsuit filed in Fulton County, Ga., Perri “Pebbles” Reid says that producers of the VH1 film “Crazysexycool: The TLC Story,” fabricated large portions of the group’s story and passed it off as a true biography of the band.
The claims are similar to those Reid made in a federal lawsuit filed in Atlanta in April.
“The TLC movie told a story of Ms. Reid as a conniving and dishonest business woman who hoodwinked three innocent girls and exploited their talent for her own personal gain and in the process negatively influenced their personal lives and deprived them of fair compensation,” the complaint states.
The movie was one of the highest rated for VH1 in 2013, with 4.5 million viewers watching its premiere, according to the complaint, in which the two remaining members of TLC, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas, are also named as defendants.
Reid claims she put her own singing career on hold to develop and manage TLC into “one of the best-selling female musical groups of all time.”
“In the midst of her efforts to help her husband [Antonio “L.A” Reid, producer and owner of LaFace records], Ms. Reid had a vision to create an all-female musical group. Ms. Reid wanted to help develop other young, female talent and help them thrive in the then male-dominated musical entertainment industry as well as help the LaFace record label,” according to the complaint.
Despite creating TLC, working as its manager, and coordinating legal counsel for Watkins, Thomas and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez, who died in 2002, Reid says “Crazysexycool “depicted her as power hungry and as an unfeeling boss.
The suit states that in the film, when Reid discovers that “Chilli” is pregnant, she encourages her to have an abortion, and the film depicts Reid ignoring “T-Boz’s” struggle with Sickle Cell Anemia in order to release the group’s first album and to tour.
“At no time during her relationship with Chilli and TLC was Ms. Reid aware that Chilli was pregnant. In fact, Ms. Reid did not find out until years later that Chilli was ever Pregnant,” the complaint says. “Ms. Reid was herself a teen mother and although she would have been upset for Chilli to have to endure the difficult life of a single, teenage mother, she would not have removed her from the group for being pregnant.”
Reid says she never encouraged or assisted Chilli in obtaining an abortion, and that she was unaware that T-Boz had sickle cell anemia until well after the contracts were signed and the first album was released.
The suit says the film also fabricated scenes depicting Reid as controlling TLC’s attorneys and accountants in the creation of contracts, hiding the terms of the contracts from the three women, and only paying each an allowance of $25 dollars per week.
“Ms. Reid wanted professionals involved and wanted TLC to have independent and competent legal advice. The Katz & Cherry firm represented TLC and the individual group members during the contract negotiations. The contracts executed were standard industry contracts and were all subject to negotiation. Everyone had independent representation and no concerns were raised about the fairness of the contracts before they were signed,” the complaint says.
Instead of being grateful to her for helping their careers, Reid claims that “T-Boz” “Left Eye” and “Chilli” tried to shut her out of all contract negotiations.
“TLC began to conspire with LaFace to cut Ms. Reid out of the contracts so that TLC could enter more lucrative contracts for the benefit of the group members and LaFace, and to the detriment of Ms. Reid,” the complaint says.
Reid’s relationship with TLC ended in 1995, when the group declared bankruptcy.
She says she sued Watkins, Thomas, and another co-defendant POPCOM, because they knew that what all of them knew that what they were portraying on film was biased and untrue.
Reid is seeking more than $40 million in damages for defamatory statements, emotional stress, embarrassment, humiliation, pain and suffering.
She is represented by L. Lin Wood and Stacy Godfrey Evans, both of Atlanta.
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