Ne-Yo Fights Back With Lawsuit Over R. Kelly Tour Firing

R&B singer Ne-Yo sued the promoter of the R. Kelly Double Up tour for firing him after two shows as the opening act, claiming that the audience and the critics liked him better, according to court papers obtained on Wednesday. Ne-Yo, whose real name is Shaffer Smith, and Compound Touring Inc. filed the suit Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court against Georgia-based Rowe Entertainment Inc., alleging breach of contract and violation of the right of publicity. Compound Touring and Smith are seeking unspecified damages, but the suit maintains he was to be paid $785,000 for 25 shows opening for Kelly’s “Double-Up Tour” that began Nov. 14 and is still owed $735,000. Smith was allowed to perform during the Nov. 14 and 15 tour dates, then was fired prior to the scheduled Nov. 19 show, according to the suit. “Plaintiffs … allege … that an unknown representative of R. Kelly urged Rowe to terminate Smith from the tour given the audience’s and critics’ more favorable reaction to Smith than the reaction to R. Kelly,” the suit states. Compound Touring spent “substantial monies in preparation for the tour and turned down other touring and performance opportunities for Smith in reliance on Rowe’s agreement that Smith would perform on the tour,” according to the suit. Compound Touring, based in Los Angeles, provides the services of Smith for concert tours.

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