R.Kelly Hits Jay-Z with A $75 Million Lawsuit
Kelly filed suit in New York on Monday that accuses Jay-Z and Marcy Projects of "intentionally causing a series of production snafus and then physically assaulting R. Kelly and some members of his entourage with pepper spray," according to a statement from R.Kelly. The lawsuit also alleges "breach-of-contract charges against Jay-Z, Marcy Projects, and Atlanta Worldwide Touring Company, the tour promoter."
Kelly claims that he was sabotaged on various stops on the tour including his late arrival on September 30th, his no-show in Cincinnati on October 1st and also for the technical issues which caused him to storm off the stage prematurely during the October 23rd stop in St. Louis. Kelly alleges that these problems were a result of "intentional sabotage by Jay-Z's lighting director, acting at the behest of Jay-Z."
Kelly says that he brought in his own lighting director on October 29th and the show went "flawlessly" because Jay-Z's lighting director continued to miss cues and cause problems with his set.
During the October 30th show Kelly says he spotted two audience members with guns, left the stage while security looked into the problem. After security failed to find the individuals and Kelly and his bodyguards were walking back towards the stage, Kelly alleges that a member of Jay-Z's entourage assaulted them with pepper-spray. They were treated at a near by hospital and discharged.
The next evening Kelly was informed by the promoter that he was off the tour and not allowed to enter the venue (see story).
Jay-Z's label, Island Def Jam Records, issues a statement on Monday blaming the demise of the tour on R.Kelly due to his "lack of professionalism and unpredictable behavior".
"Mr. Kelly has canceled three performances with less than 24 hours' notice and has delayed multiple shows by hours," the label said. "[during] a sold-out Madison Square Garden Show, Mr. Kelly made a statement from the stage claiming members of the audience were waving guns. Jay-Z sees that statement as the equivalent of screaming 'fire' in a crowded theater and was unable to continue with someone whose actions could potentially create a dangerous situation.
"Later that evening, on New York radio station Hot 97, R. Kelly admitted that he didn't actually see any guns. Jay will not allow his fans and touring personnel to be subjected to an unsafe environment created by his co-headliner. Only the professionalism of Jay-Z and other entertainers, including Usher and Mary J. Blige on Friday prevented a disaster and saved the evening."
It is unclear at press time if Jay-Z will continue the tour with a slate of special guest. The tour was originally scheduled to run until November 28th.