The Pussycat Dolls are suing the Mail Online’s parent company after it published two articles last year in which the girl band was described a “prostitution ring” by a former member.
The pop group’s founder, Robin Antin (pictured), is also named on the lawsuit against Daily Mail Corporation, Daily Mail and General Trust and DMG Media, the company’s divisions in the US and UK.
The first article, published on Mail Online on 16 October 2017, quoted tweets from former Pussycat Doll member Kaya Jones’s account in which she claimed: “I wasn’t in a girl group. I was in a prostitution ring.”
She also claimed: “To be a part of the team you must be a team player. Meaning sleep with whoever they say.”
Mail Online followed the story up with an exclusive interview with Jones, published on 17 October.
It was headlined: “Defiant ex-Pussycat Doll Kaya 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 the interview Jones said she had to deal with “sexual predators and verbal and mental abuse” from recording executives while she was part of the band.
In the lawsuit, filed by litigation lawyer Richard Busch, the articles are described as an, “intentional, reckless and malicious publication by the Daily Mail”.
Busch described Jones’s claims as “false and defamatory statements made by a disgruntled, unreliable and biased person looking for her fifteen minutes of fame”.
He added: “[The Daily Mail] should have known, with even the most basic check, that Ms Jones was unreliable and her story obviously false.
“Instead, for pure sensationalism, and advertising money, and to grab salacious headlines to sell their product, and without caring what it meant for plaintiffs, their business, or their reputation, the defendants published and commented on these defamatory statements with a reckless disregard for the truth.”
Antin is seeking damages for reputational harm and emotional distress and claims she went from a “well respected business woman” to being viewed as “the head of an international prostitution ring”.
The lawsuit goes on to dispute the fact that Jones was ever a member of the band, despite providing backing vocals for some of their early songs prior to leaving the group in 2004.
It also said: “Based on the Daily Mail’s familiarity with Antin and The Pussycat Dolls they knew, or should have known, that any accusations of forced drug use, forced prostitution, or any other illegal activity were completely baseless and without merit.”
DMG Media did not respond when asked to comment.
Picture: Reuters/Mark Blinch