DETROIT (CN) – Two cameramen sued R&B singer Akon in Michigan state court, claiming members of his crew held them at gunpoint and forced them to hand over music-video footage to avoid paying them.
Tyler Rich and Jason Gaines filed a complaint for false imprisonment, assault and battery on Friday in Wayne County Circuit Court.
Represented by attorney Marc Deldin of Mount Clemens, they say Akon and his record label Konvict Kartel hired them to shoot a video for the rapper Tone Tone’s track “Eisha,” which Akon produced and directed.
The lawsuit was filed against Akon, real name Aliaune Thiam, and Tone Tone, real name Antonio Henderson, as well as several companies owned by Akon and multiple unnamed defendants. Requests for comment from Deldin and Akon went unanswered Tuesday.
Two years ago, the singer allegedly promised the cameramen $1,000 a day to shoot scenes at a barbeque, radio station, studio and house party.
Rich and Gaines say they wanted Akon to pay them up front and claim the singer showed them “a wad of money to give the impression that payment was secured.”
But by the end of the second day of filming, no money had been paid. When Rich pressed Akon to pay them, the singer told him he would get his money later that night, according to the complaint.
At the end of the shoot, the cameramen say they were transferring footage from the camera to a hard drive when Tone Tone’s manager, identified in the filing as “Fats,” and another unnamed defendant approached their car and demanded that they hand over their keys.
Fats and the other crew member each pulled out guns and led the cameramen at gunpoint to a spot where Akon and Tone Tone were waiting, according to the lawsuit.
“’Y’all thought I was gonna pay you for doing this? Do you know who the fuck I am? I don’t pay for music videos,’” Tone Tone said, according to the cameramen.
“Y’all should have given them the footage,” Akon allegedly added.
Rich and Gaines claim they were forced to wait for over an hour while Akon and Tone Tone’s crew went to a store to buy a hard drive. The members of the crew then returned and transferred the footage, the complaint states. During that time, the two men say they “repeatedly asked to be released and for possession of Gaines’ car keys.”
“Akon, perhaps realizing the magnitude of what he just took part in, then commented to plaintiffs that ‘you gonna get paid,’” according to the lawsuit.
The cameramen say that eventually they were allowed to leave. The “Eisha” video was released in November 2016 but the cameramen say they were never paid.