Perri "Pebbles" Reid, 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., Ms. 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. Reid sued VH1 owner Viacom for defamation in April in federal court, asking for $40 million in damages. (That case is still pending and is in discovery.) The new state lawsuit is against surviving members of TLC and executive producers Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas for the same $40 million amount in compensatory and punitive damages.
"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.
Atlanta-based trio TLC is one of the biggest selling female groups of all time with hits such as "Waterfalls," "No Scrubs" and "What About Your Friends." A third member, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, died in a car accident in 2002. The other two women have performed sporadically over the years without her, including a tour not too long ago in Australia, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
The lawsuit goes into detail from Pebbles' perspective in how the group was formed, her role in it and what she knew or didn't know at the time. For instance, she wrote in the lawsuit that she had no idea Chilli was pregnant in the early 1990s and learned of T-Boz's sickle-cell anemia only after the first album was released. She wrote how actively she was in recruiting and managing the group in those early years.
"On many occasions," the lawsuit states, "Ms. Reid personally advanced expenses on behalf of TLC and was never fully reimbursed by the group out of her own generosity" and "compensated TLC over and above amounts due under the terms of the contract." She portrayed herself as a person who "counseled" and "nurtured" the group as individuals and encouraged them to be frugal in their spending as new artists. She wrote she "poured her heart and soul into the group for over five years and did not want to walk away from TLC."
She said before the first album was completed, TLC began to try to change contract terms to cut her out of the deal. She believes TLC filed for bankruptcy in 1995 as "a legal ploy to renege on, and be released from, its contractual obligations to Ms. Reid."
The two sides eventually settled that case.
Latest from Ruth J. Morrison
- Filmmaker Stefanie Joshua on Gentrification, and Bushwick Homecomings: The Record
- Terra Renee on How She Authored a Chapter in Book About Michelle Obama
- China's Alibaba Singles Day Sales Beats Black Friday and Prime Day by a Mile
- Domestic Violence Rears Its Ugly Head Upon LaShonda Childs [VIDEO DISCUSSION]
- Chance The Rapper Donates $1 Million for Mental Health Services in Chicago [QUICK TAKES]