British singer and X-Factor judge Rita Ora filed a lawsuit against Jay Z’s record label Roc Nation on Thursday at the Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming that the company is neglecting its musical acts in favor of sports figures.
US Weekly reports that Ora, 25, asserted in the lawsuit that Roc Nation began neglecting its musical clients, including herself, after it began to work in sports management. According to the lawsuit:
“As Roc Nation’s interests diversified, there were fewer resources available and the company suffered a revolving door of executives. Rita’s remaining supporters at the label left or moved on to other activities, to the point where she no longer had a relationship with anyone at the company.”
New York Daily News reports that Ora signed on with Roc Nation in 2008 at the young age of 18, during a time well before the company started pursuing athletic talent, which includes Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and more.
Ora, who claims she feels “orphaned” by Roc City, complained that she had to participate in “self-funding her promotional television appearances, recording costs and video projects.” The complaint also reads that:
“Between Sony’s limited economic return from its orphaned relationship with Roc Nation and Sony’s indirect relationship with Rita, Rita is caught in a political quagmire of dysfunction.”
Ora filed her lawsuit under the “seven-year rule,” technically known as the California Labor Code Section 2855, which mandates that courts cannot enforce a contract if the talent has given seven years of actual service. The “seven year rule” got its origins when, in 1943, Academy Award-nominated actress Olivia de Havilland, who was in a contract with Warner Bros., began turning down numerous roles offered to her. In turn, Warner Bros. attempted to suspend the actress for refusing roles, yet continued to extend her contract.
De Havilland and her attorneys sued Warner Bros. for extending her contract without her permission, and in 1944, the California Court of Appeal ruled that the actress wasn’t obligated to perform under Warner Bros. contract after giving them seven years of service. In turn, the “seven year rule” is now also known as the De Havilland Law.
Ora is now demanding her freedom. She is purusing a declaratory judgment that claims that since Roc Nation violated California law, she should no longer be bound to give her services to the company.
In 2012, Ora released her first studio album, the self-entitled Ora, which debuted at No. 1 in the UK. With three consecutive singles reaching the No. 1 spot on UK charts, Ora had the most hit singles in 2012 on the UK Singles Chart. During the same year, she became a guest judge for the London auditions on the ninth series of the X Factor. Two years later, Ora became a coach on UK’s The Voice, and in 2015, she became a judge on X-Factor‘s 12th season.
Ora has also dabbled in acting, including a 2014 guest role on 90210 and roles in the films Southpaw and Fast and Furious 6. She also appeared as Mia Grey, the adopted sister of Christian Grey, in the film Fifty Shades of Grey, and is slated to appear again in the film’s sequel, Fifty Shades Darker.
Howard King, Rita Ora’s attorney, stated that he hopes that a judge can see that his client is going through a similar situation that de Havilland once did in the 1940s. Roc Nation has yet to comment on the issue.
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