H.E.R. sues to be released from her record label

More than 11 years after signing with MBK Entertainment at the age of 14, HER is suing to be fired from the label.

In a lawsuit filed June 16 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, artist-born Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson accused the label of violating California Labor Code Section 2855, which limits personal service contracts to no more than seven years.

“Wilson’s seven years have expired,” the complaint reads. “MBK’s attempts to thwart this important and fundamental California public policy should not be condoned.

HER’s contract, which she signed on May 19, 2011, states that the singer is initially an “exclusive collaborator” with MBK, which would end either 15 months after her signing or 12 months after the release of her first album. However, the contract could be extended by up to five additional option periods of more than one year each. (HER’s debut studio album, Back of My Mind, was released on June 18, 2021, nearly a year after the lawsuit was filed.)

Around the time she signed with MBK, HER also typed in the label’s owner, Jeff Robinson, as her manager, according to the lawsuit. Robinson then fired the law firm representing SIE during contract negotiations and hired his own attorneys to represent her on future deals such as release and touring.

According to the lawsuit, the lawyers received 5% of the deals they negotiated, but did so as a “favor” to Robinson, who received a 20% commission on each deal.

“By its terms, the agreement significantly restricted Wilson’s employment rights,” the complaint reads. “As of May 19, 2011, MBK solely owns her services as a recording artist and owns the exclusive right to use her name and likeness for her recordings under the Agreement. Wilson could only offer her recording services when permitted or mandated by MBK.”

HER has sued MBK Entertainment, but Robinson himself is not named as a defendant. Along with her release from MBK, she is suing for her catalog rights, restitution, attorneys’ fees and other relief “as the court thinks equitable and reasonable.”

Representatives from HER and MBK Recordings did not immediately respond to the Times’ requests for comment.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2022-06-21/her-lawsuit-mbk-entertainment-released-california H.E.R. sues to be released from her record label

Sarah Ridley

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