The Pussycat Dolls, the girl group formed by Robin Antin in the mid-1990s which featured former “X Factor” judge Nicole Scherzinger, is suing British news outlet the Daily Mail over stories it ran in October 2017 claiming that the members were abused and that the group served as a “front for a prostitution ring.”
The allegations were made by a former backup singer named Kaya Jones, who was quoted extensively in an Oct. 17 article with the headline: “Exclusive: Defiant ex-Pussycat Doll Ms. Jones tells how top record exec sexually assaulted her in the back of his limo – one day after saying the band was more ‘prostitution ring’ than pop group.” In various articles related to the claims, she also asserts that the girls were “drugged” and that Antin was “responsible” for their treatment as well as the 2014 suicide death of Simone Battle, a member of girl group G.R.L., another Antin project.
According to documents filed in New York State on May 21, Jones auditioned for the group but was rejected from a marquee position to backup vocalist. She’s described in the suit as “disgruntled.”
King & Ballow’s Richard Busch, the attorney who won the “Blurred Lines” trial in 2015, successfully arguing for Marvin Gaye’s family to be awarded $5.3 million and half of future royalties from the Robin Thicke song, is representing Antin and the Pussycat Dolls.
“It’s clear Ms. Jones was an unreliable and biased source simply looking for her 15 minutes of fame, and the Daily Mail could have taken their pick of dozens of sources to contact to see if there was an inkling of truth to the statements, but did not do so,” said Busch in a statement. “Instead, for pure sensationalism and to grab salacious headlines to sell their product, and without considering what it meant for The Pussycat Dolls, their business or their reputation, the Daily Mail published these defamatory statements with a reckless disregard for the truth. Daily Mail’s conduct was malicious and it should be held responsible for the enormous damage The Pussycat Dolls and Robin have suffered as a direct result.”
The suit also claims that the paper, which is second in size to The Sun in the U.K., neglected to properly vet what it would commit to print by not contacting Antin, with whom the Daily Mail had a relationship (Antin had participated in previous stories).
Antin’s Pussycat Dolls project was a joint venture with Interscope Records, a subisidiary of Universal Music Group, which released two studio albums by the group (in 2005 and 2008), following the April 2005 hit “Don’t Cha.” The song reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was one of the biggest selling singles of the year. The group, which has included members Scherzinger, Carmit Bachar, Ashley Roberts, Jessica Sutta, Melody Thornton and Kimberly Wyatt, announce it was going on hiatus in 2010, though talk of a reunion, particularly in the U.K. where The Daily Mail is based, continues to attract interest by fans and the media.