Pussycat Dolls star Nicole Scherzinger has rejected claims that she went back on a deal to perform in a reunion tour, branding them “ludicrous and false”.
The singer is being sued by the band’s choreographer and founder Robin Antin for allegedly reneging on a previously-announced tour, it emerged this week.
But Scherzinger’s lawyer has now said any such obligations “simply do not exist”.
Howard King called the legal case “a desperate attempt to divert blame”.
“Robin will fail in her efforts to trade on Nicole’s hard-earned success to pull herself out of a deep financial hole she has created by her own poor business and professional decisions,” Mr King said in a statement to People.
“Nicole loves and respects the PCD fans and hopes to one day be back on stage performing the group’s amazing hits for them… Sadly, this will not happen under these circumstances.”
According to legal papers filed by Antin, Scherzinger asked to renegotiate the reunion agreement to give her creative control and a larger share in the group’s new business venture.
What was the plan for the reunion tour?
In November 2019, a decade after the Pussycat Dolls split, the group announced they would reform for a live tour.
Five of the six Dolls would reunite – with Scherzinger joined by Ashley Roberts, Carmit Bachar, Kimberly Wyatt and Jessica Sutta to perform hits like Buttonz, Don’t Cha and Jai Ho at a series of live UK shows.
Court papers show that Scherzinger agreed to be an “active partner” in the tour, which included making up to 45 live appearances with the group.
How was the tour pay going to be split?
The lawsuit, filed on Friday at Los Angeles Superior Court, includes a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), a short-form agreement drawn up and signed in advance of the tour’s announcement.
The MoU shows that Roberts, Wyatt and Sutta would each receive 12.5% of net profits from the tour.
Antin, who is described as the “chief executive officer, director and sole owner of PCD” would also receive 12.5%.
Bachar, who left the group in 2008 before their second album was released but was set to return for the reunion, would receive 5% of the takings.
As the lead singer and face of the recording group, Scherzinger stood to make the most, with a 32.5% share.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic struck before the tour could take place, and the band announced they would reschedule the live dates in the future, when it was safe to do so.
What is PCD Worldwide?
In addition to her earnings from the tour, Scherzinger would be given a 49% stake in a new Pussycat Dolls business venture called PCD Worldwide, while Antin had a 51% share.
Scherzinger was awarded her share of the company in exchange for her participation in the reunion tour.
The court papers indicate that PCD Worldwide would manage the Pussycat Dolls brand in the future, including any new projects, such as putting together a “new generation” of Pussycat Dolls.
What did Nicole Scherzinger want?
The court papers say Scherzinger initially agreed to the 49% share in PCD Worldwide in 2019, but allegedly later said she wanted to increase that to 75%.
According to the papers, Scherzinger emailed to Antin in April 2021 saying she would refuse to take part in the reunion tour unless the contracts were renegotiated to increase her share in the company.
Scherzinger cited the “growth of her personal brand” and the “opportunities she would have to forego to continue to engage in the partnership” with Antin and the band as her reason for demanding a bigger share.
The lead singer is the biggest breakout star of the group. Scherzinger enjoyed a successful solo career in the early 2010s, starred in West End shows, and became a judge on TV competitions including The X Factor and The Masked Singer USA.
Antin refused to meet this demand, which the lawsuit describes as “extortion”, saying Scherzinger was already contractually obliged to take part in the reunion tour under the MoU she had signed two years earlier.
The stand-off has prevented the Pussycat Dolls reunion tour dates from being rescheduled, which will cost the band financially unless a solution is found.
The documents show Live Nation invested $600,000 (£434,000) to partner with the group in advance of the reunion, which the tour company will demand is returned if the concerts do not go ahead.
In his statement in response to the legal action, Scherzinger’s lawyer said: “Prior to Nicole’s involvement, trading on Nicole’s name without her consent, Robin borrowed (and spent) $600,000 from Live Nation that she won’t or can’t repay.
“Nicole has invested her own funds in excess of $150,000 in support of a potential PCD reunion that has now been made impossible by Robin’s actions (including the public release of the group members’ confidential financial information).”