Kelly Gets Best Of Countersuit

Jay-Z has filed a counterclaim to R. Kelly‘s $90 million lawsuit against him and the promoter of the duo’s Best of Both Worlds outing. Jay-Z’s claim, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, asserts it was Kelly who ultimately train-wrecked last fall’s tour.

The original lawsuit claims Jay-Z and promoter Jeff Sharp of Atlanta Worldwide Touring were responsible for the cancellation of the tour. Kelly, through his publicist, said he was “ready, willing and able” to perform the rest of the tour, but it was called off by the promoter. The suit alleges Jay-Z was jealous of Kelly’s status and higher pay, which led Jay-Z to cause the lighting director to deliberately sabotage the show.

Jay-Z’s $75 million counterclaim says it was Kelly who was responsible for the ultimate demise of Best of Both Worlds. According to the lawsuit, Jay-Z and the promoter allowed Kelly to have a higher percentage of net profits because of his financial need to combat accusations of having sex with an underage girl.

Even though the tour scheduled 10 days of rehearsals in Chicago’s Northern Illinois Convocation Center, Kelly “materialized several days later,” according to the suit, giving the tour insufficient time to rehearse adequately. The days that remained allegedly included an indifferent Kelly, who spent much of the time playing basketball.

According to the suit, a series of delays and cancellations followed, ultimately leading to an onstage breakdown at Madison Square Garden where Kelly announced he had seen two people in the audience brandishing guns and exited the stage while “crying hysterically.” It was one of two alleged instances when Kelly was in tears because of frustrations with the tour.

The countersuit claims that no amount of persuasion or negotiation could keep Kelly from sabotaging the tour. It concludes that “Jay-Z performed all of his obligations pursuant to his agreement with Atlanta Worldwide.”

In response, Kelly attorney Ed Hayes told the Chicago Sun-Times his client “can sing and he can write songs better than anybody in the world. … Nobody expects creative geniuses to be like other people. People have been going to R. Kelly concerts for a long time and loving him. Jay-Z needed R. Kelly. R. Kelly didn’t need Jay-Z.”

The countersuit does not address the pepper spray incident that occurred after Kelly tried to return to the stage at Madison Square Garden. A Jay-Z crew member named “Ty Ty” Smith was arrested for allegedly macing Kelly as he approached the stage, sending the singer and two bodyguards to the hospital for treatment.