Published Oct 23, 2019Last week, songwriters and producers Justin and Jeremiah Raisen took to Instagram to accuse Lizzo of plagiarizing melodies, lyrics and chords in her chart-topping song "Truth Hurts." Today Lizzo has responded by snapping back at them with a lawsuit of her own.
Filing a suit in California Federal Court today, Lizzo is seeking a "judicial declaration" through the legal action that her accusers, as well as producer/songwriter Justin "Yves" Rothman, did not co-author the song and "have no rights to co-own that work or to share in its profits."
In the suit, Lizzo's lawyer Cynthia S. Arato wrote the following:
[T]he Raisens, acting through their sophisticated music publisher and an experienced music industry lawyer, expressly withdrew any claim to "Truth Hurts," in writing, in April of this year, and subsequently assured Lizzo, again in writing, that they were making no claims to the work. Despite their clear, unequivocal, and repeated renunciations, this September the Raisens purported to "reinstate" their wholly unfounded claims—after they saw "Truth Hurts" become a hit and in a bad faith effort to capitalize on Lizzo's success. The Raisens, moreover, embarked on an escalating campaign of harassment against Lizzo and others involved in "Truth Hurts," threatening to "go public" unless they receive an unwarranted share of this work.
Earlier today, Lizzo offered a statement about the origins of the song, clarifying that "The men who claim a piece of 'Truth Hurts' did not help me write any part of the song. They had nothing to do with the line or how I chose to sing it. There was no one in the room when I wrote 'Truth Hurts,' except me, Ricky Reed, and my tears. That song is my life, and its words are my truth."
She did, however, extend the writing credits on "Truth Hurts" to singer Mina Lioness, who originally tweeted the line: "I just took a DNA test / Turns out I'm 100% that bitch."
With the suit, Arato and Lizzo intend to ask for a ruling that the Raisens and Rothman have no right to ownership or profit from "Truth Hurts," as well as a declaration that the song "does not infringe any copyright interest purportedly held by defendant Rothman in any unreleased demo song."
Last week, Arato had a similar narrative for the press. She issued a statement to the New York Times: "The Raisens are not writers of 'Truth Hurts'... They did not collaborate with Lizzo or anyone else to create this song, and they did not help write any of the material that they now seek to profit from, which is why they expressly renounced any claim to the work, in writing, months ago."