Nicole Scherzinger sued by Pussycat Dolls founder Robin Antin

By Steven McIntosh
Entertainment reporter

  • Published
Nicole ScherzingerImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Court papers show Scherzinger cited "the growth of her personal brand" while requesting an increased share of earnings

Nicole Scherzinger is being sued by the founder of the Pussycat Dolls after allegedly refusing to take part in the group's previously-announced reunion.

Choreographer and founder Robin Antin claims Scherzinger is demanding full creative control and a larger share in the group's new business venture.

The singer has allegedly asked for her 49% share in the company, PCD Worldwide, to be increased to 75%, giving her creative control.

Scherzinger has not yet commented.

What was the plan for the reunion tour?

In November 2019, a decade after the Pussycat Dolls split, the group announced they would be reforming for a live tour.

Five of the six Dolls would reunite - with Scherzinger being joined by Ashley Roberts, Carmit Bachar, Kimberly Wyatt and Jessica Sutta.

The group said they would be performing hits such as Buttonz, Don't Cha and Jai Ho at a series of live UK shows, alongside a new single, React, which was released to mark the announcement of the tour.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The Pussycat Dolls were pictured together in Leicester Square in 2019 as they announced their reunion tour

One original member - Melody Thornton - declined to take part in the tour, having previously said she felt vocally under-used during the group's original run.

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 in 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 tour, would receive 5% of the takings.

As the lead singer and face of the recording group, Scherzinger stood to make the most from the tour, 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?

Image caption,
The Pussycat Dolls had UK number one hits with Stickwitu and Don't Cha

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.

The lawsuit suggests such projects could have included the launch of a PCD dance studio as well as putting together a "new generation" of Pussycat Dolls.

In other words, just like S Club Juniors were launched to capitalise on the S Club 7 brand, there could have been a new iteration of the Pussycat Dolls launched in the next few years which "would feature some or all new singers", the lawsuit says.

What did Nicole Scherzinger want?

Image caption,
Scherzinger is the biggest breakout star of the group

The court papers say Scherzinger initially agreed to the 49% share in PCD Worldwide in 2019, but allegedly later stated she wanted to increase that to 75%.

According to the papers, Scherzinger sent an email to Antin in April 2021 stating that 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", stating that 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.

Scherzinger has not publicly referred to the lawsuit and her representatives have not yet replied to the BBC's request for comment.

The other Dolls - Roberts, Wyatt, Bachar and Sutta - also have not yet publicly commented.

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