Snoop Dogg, born Calvin Broadus, is named in a lawsuit filed by Emmy-winning makeup designer Kylie Bell, who claims the rapper and four members of his entourage raped her backstage after a 2003 taping of ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live. According to the suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, Bell is seeking $25 million total in damages.
Bell, who won an Emmy Award in 2002 for her work with HBO's acclaimed series Six Feet Under, claims in the suit that she was hired at Snoop Dogg's request to apply and remove makeup for his January 2003 appearance on the late-night talk show. In the artist's dressing room following the taping, Bell claims in the suit, posted on the Smoking Gun Web site, that she "could not think straight and could not control her body" after drinking a small glass of what one of the rapper's associates had claimed was champagne. While she was in this state, the thirty-six-year-old alleges that Snoop Dogg and four others raped her.
Snoop Dogg had sued the then-unidentified woman for extortion in December, maintaining that she had demanded $5 million in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual assault.
In addition to Snoop Dogg, Bell has named Jimmy Kimmel Live and the Walt Disney Company -- which owns the ABC network -- as defendants in the lawsuit. Bell is holding the network responsible because she claims she saw "large quantities" of marijuana and champagne in the thirty-two-year-old rapper's dressing room.
Bell maintains that the morning after the alleged assault, she spoke with family members who advised her to keep quiet because the rapper "was a gang member." Four months later, however, she claims she went ahead and informed Kimmel's show of the alleged incident, and claims that shortly thereafter her living expenses began to be covered by an ABC subsidiary. Once these payments were terminated, Bell claims that Snoop Dogg began covering those costs, and his lawyers began negotiations with Bell's representatives last October.
After an agreement fell through, Bell filed the lawsuit for suffering "physical, psychological and emotional injury," as well as "loss of the ability to work," caused by the alleged rape.
In response to the suit, a spokesperson for ABC commented, "There is simply no merit to the charges against the company." In a statement, Snoop Dogg's representative called Bell "opportunistic and deceitful," saying, "It is truly unfortunate that [she] has chosen to follow the increasingly common path of misusing the legal system as a means of extracting financial gain from entertainers."
But Bell's lawyer Perry Wander is framing the rapper's extortion suit as an admission of guilt. "The most glaring problem that Snoop's lawyers have is that they admitted in a legal document that they made payments to my client," says Wander. "And no matter how he tries to spin and dance around this issue, that's an admission of liability." Pointing a finger at ABC and Disney, he continued, "The lawsuit is an indictment of the entertainment industry and how it works. They protect their talent; they enter into questionable relations with gang-bangers to make a profit; they conceal the use of drugs. [At Jimmy Kimmel Live], there's an open bar onstage where the guests are encouraged to get loaded."
Wander anticipates that his client's suit will be settled out of court.