A new class action lawsuit claims that Lady Gaga has not sent all of the money raised by her wristbands for earthquake relief in Japan to victims of the catastrophe as promised. The suit, which is being pursued by Michigan legal network 1800LAWFIRM, also alleges that Gaga and her partner companies overcharged fans on shipping costs in order to inflate reports of total donations, which Gaga’s camp says came out to $3 million.
“While we commend Lady Gaga for her philanthropic efforts, we want to ensure that claims that ‘all proceeds will be donated to Japan’s earthquake’ are in fact true,” 1800LAWFIRM attorney Alyson Oliver said in a statement. “Our intention via this lawsuit is to uncover any improprieties committed by Lady Gaga and appropriate the full donations assumed to the victims in Japan.”
1800LAWFIRM’s suit claims that the singer violated several federal racketeering and consumer protection laws in promoting and selling the benefit wristbands, which were sold through her website for $5 each plus shipping costs.
Gaga has been very active with charity work in the past, but until now has mainly focused on partnering with established, credible nonprofits rather than starting her own. (The singer donated $20,000 per night on her Monster Ball tour to homeless-LGBT organizations.)
Popular on Rolling Stone
This controversy over Gaga’s Japan relief wristbands is the latest in a rash of charitable efforts by major pop stars that have collapsed or gone wrong. Earlier this year, Kanye West quietly folded his Kanye West Foundation, and Madonna abandoned plans to build a school for girls in Malawi after an audit revealed that some of the $3.8 million raised for that project was unaccounted for.
Related: The Dark Side of Celebrity Charities