Lady Gaga, her management company and Bravado International, Universal’s merchandising company, are all being sued by the maker of Bratz dolls, MGA Entertainment. The claimant struck a deal with Bravado last year to release a Lady Gaga range of dolls, but says that the singer and her business partners have deliberately procrastinated over the design of the toys because of a disagreement over release schedules.
According to Bloomberg, a lawsuit filed by MGA this week states that the company made an agreement with Bravado in December last year, and at Bravado’s “request and insistence” paid an advance of $1 million. MGA had planned to begin shipping the dolls this summer, but in April was told that Gaga wanted to delay release until 2013 in order to coincide with her next album.
But, MGA says, by that point it had agreements in place with six distributors and orders from ten different countries, and couldn’t alter its plans. A disagreement on scheduling seemingly ensued so, MGA alleges, Team Gaga intentionally failed to provide final approval for the design of the dolls to ensure a later release.
The lawsuit claims: “[The] defendants’ conduct is egregious, in bad faith and is pretextual, especially in light of the fact that MGA has, among other things, paid Bravado a $1,000,000 advance, agreed to an excessively generous royalty rate, invested millions in the preproduction of the Lady Gaga dolls and put its reputation and goodwill on the line in order to secure distributors and retail shelf space”.
Speaking to Bloomberg, a spokesperson for Lady Gaga said: “This is a dispute between Universal Music Group’s merchandising company and MGA. There was no legitimate reason for dragging Lady Gaga into that dispute. Lady Gaga will vigorously defend MGA’s ill-conceived lawsuit and is confident that she will prevail”.
Meanwhile, a rep for Universal said that Bravado would defend the case “rigorously”. MGA is seeking $10 million in damages.