Remember we told you about that lawsuit that Lady Gaga’s former assistant Jennifer O’Neill had taken against her for unpaid overtime wages she says she’s owed? Well the lawsuit is heating up with fashion photographer and infamous sleaze bucket Terry Richardson being drawn into the mix!
O’Neill says she put in 7,168 hours of unpaid overtime during two stints working for Gaga — who’s listed in the suit under her real name, Stefani Germanotta — and is owed more than $393,000, plus damages. O‘Neill was paid a salary of $75,000 for her time with the singer and, according to her complaint, she was not given breaks for meals ‘or, at times, even sleep,’ and needed to be available at the star’s ‘earliest waking hour’ or for ‘spontaneous, random matters in the middle of the night,’ according to the court papers.
Gaga denies O’Neill’s claim and stated “you don’t get a schedule that is like you punch in and you can play f–king Tetris at your desk for four hours and then you punch out at the end of the day. This is — when I need you, you’re available.” She also claims that O’Neill did not appreciate the perks of being her assistant and that “she slept in Egyptian cotton sheets every night, in five-star hotels, on private planes, eating caviar, partying with Terry Richardson all night, wearing my clothes, asking YSL to send her free shoes without my permission, using my YSL discount without my permission.”
But Gaga’s words about Richardson are coming back to bite her. In 2011, he followed Gaga on her “Monster Ball” tour taking behind the scenes pictures, 350 of which featured in his book Lady Gaga X Terry Richardson. However, he took 142,000 photos in total, and O’Neill is claiming that those photos will prove that Gaga kept her at her “beck and call”–and that she’s owed those 7,168 hours of overtime.
Richardson’s lawyer fought the court order to produce the photographs, claiming that “Mr. Richardson’s business and livelihood depend on the value of his photographs,” and that he will suffer “immeasurable financial loss” as a result of the court order. This is because once the photos are unsealed and admitted as evidence they become part of the public record and can be reproduced by anyone at any time without compensating Richardson for their use. Manhattan federal Judge Paul Gardephe, however, denied the photographer’s claims yesterday, ordering the images to be unsealed. Though these specific photos have not been valued, the Post reports that Richardson makes about $58 million a year.
For those of you unfamiliar with Richardson, fashion’s favourite photographer has been accused multiple times of sexual exploitation of young models. In March 2010 Richardson was accused by Danish model and filmmaker Rie Rasmussen, who was upset at Richardson’s use of her picture in his Terryworld book alongside shots of half-naked young girls depicted as performing sex acts. Rasmussen commented, “He takes girls who are young, manipulates them to take their clothes off and takes pictures of them they will be ashamed of.” Model Jamie Peck adds, “Of all the fine folks I’ve frolicked au natural for, he’s the only one who’s left me feeling like I needed to take two showers.” Nice guy.