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Arts and Entertainment

Cher sued by tour members claiming they were fired after reporting alleged sexual assault

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By EMN Updated: Sep 20, 2014 12:22 am
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[dropcap]A[/dropcap] choreographer and two dancers claim Cher booted them off her tour when they got vocal about an alleged sexual assault of a female fan.
The three claim they were traveling with the music icon in June and staying together in a hotel in St. Louis when they rushed to the aid of a distraught woman identified only as “Jenn,” a new lawsuit filed in Los Angeles states.
The woman was at the hotel with another male dancer on the tour and asked the trio for help, saying the male dancer pressured her to have sex and became angry when she refused, according to the lawsuit obtained by the Daily News.
Plaintiffs Jacquelyn Ballinger, Suzanne Easter and Kevin Wilson, a tour choreographer, claim they reported the disturbing incident to tour managers and were fired within a month of blowing the whistle.
Wilson, who is black, also claims Cher made a racist comment while auditioning dancers for her ongoing “Dressed to Kill” tour.
“We have too much color onstage,” Cher allegedly said when Wilson voiced his preference for a female dancer who was not white. Cher’s camp quickly dismissed the lawsuit as meritless. “These are ridiculous accusations,” Cher’s spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg told The News Thursday. “Couldn’t be further from the truth.”
The lawyer who filed the wrongful termination action named Cher, her manager and her production company as defendants.
“Cher claims she’s all about female empowerment, and here she is helping to cover up a sexual assault,” lawyer Perry Wander told The News.
Wander said it was Ballinger who first saw the young woman in trouble through an adjoining hotel room door and called the other two plaintiffs to help “calm” her.
“The dancer who allegedly committed the assault is a young, white male with a big social media presence,” Wander said, declining to name the alleged perpetrator. “The dancer was put on probation, but that’s just a slap on the wrist. He’s still on the tour.”
Asked if Cher personally heard the allegations from the plaintiffs, Wander claimed she did.
“And nothing happens on a Cher tour without Cher’s approval,” Wander said. The three plaintiffs were fired from the tour on July 20, despite signing contract extensions to remain on the second leg through the end of the year, the lawsuit states.
They were told the terminations were the result of budget cuts, according to the legal filing.
The plaintiffs are seeking at least $10 million in punitive damages.

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By EMN Updated: Sep 20, 2014 12:22:06 am