Lizzo has filed a lawsuit against three songwriters who claim they were not properly credited as co-writers on her hit song, “Truth Hurts.”
The lawsuit, obtained by Rolling Stone, comes after brothers Justin and Jeremiah Raisen publicly claimed they were part of an April 2017 writing session with Lizzo that produced a demo, “Healthy,” that included the line, “I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100 percent that bitch.” On Instagram, Justin Raisen claimed he and his brother were never properly credited for the song, and that their attempts to solve the matter were repeatedly shot down. Around the same time, another writer at the session, Justin “Yves” Rothman, also claimed that he was also uncredited as a songwriter.
Along with filing the suit on Wednesday, Lizzo rebuffed the Raisens’ claims on Twitter, saying, “The men who now 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.” Lizzo also reiterated that the “DNA test” line was inspired by a meme she saw, and she’s since given a writing credit to singer Mina Lioness, the person whose tweet inspired that meme.
The suit, meanwhile, claims the Raisens did not collaborate with Lizzo or anyone else to create “Truth Hurts,” and says that they, their publishing company and lawyer previously withdrew any claim to “Truth Hurts” earlier this year. It also seeks a similar declaration that “Truth Hurts” doesn’t infringe on any copyright owned by Rothman.
“Today we filed a lawsuit on Lizzo’s behalf to establish, in a court of law, that the Raisens are not writers of ‘Truth Hurts’ and have no right to profit from the song’s success,” Lizzo’s lawyer, Cynthia Arato said in a statement. “The Raisens did not collaborate with Lizzo or anyone else to create the 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, as the lawsuit makes abundantly clear. Although it is all too commonplace for successful artists to be subjected to these type of opportunistic claims, it is nevertheless disappointing that Lizzo had to take this step to put an end to the Raisens’ false claims and their campaign of harassment.”
Neither the Raisens nor a rep for Rothman immediately responded to Rolling Stone‘s request to comment.
According to the lawsuit, the Raisen brothers previously tried to claim they each owned 10 percent of “Truth Hurts,” and that the dispute was holding up Lizzo’s ability to license the song to third parties. In April, the suit alleges, the matter seemed to be settled when Lizzo and her representatives finalized an agreement with the Raisens and their publishing company, Kobalt, that stipulated the pair did not have a claim to the song. Following that agreement, Lizzo was able to start licensing “Truth Hurts” and, on April 17th, the song notably appeared in the trailer for the Netflix comedy, Someone Great — the catalyst for the song’s belated rise to Number One.
While the suit claims the Raisens previously reaffirmed the status of the April agreement after some confusion over their appearance on an ASCAP database entry for the song, after “Truth Hurts” went to Number One in September, the duo again tried to claim a 20 percent stake. Along with alleging the Raisens only reinstated their claim because of the song’s success, the suit alleges the brothers “engaged in a pattern of harassment directed at Lizzo and the co-writers of ‘Truth Hurts,’” including “an intentionally misleading social media campaign.”
As for Rothman, the suit alleges that, since the commercial release of “Truth Hurts” in September 2017, he hadn’t previously tried to stake a claim to the song until earlier this month. The suit claims that on October 14th — one day before the Raisens posted about the dispute on Instagram — Rothman filed his own formal demand claiming he was one of the writers on the demo and seeking a five percent stake in the song. “Like the Raisens’ claim, Rothman’s claim has no merit,” the suit reads. “Rothman did not write any part of the material in question.”
Lizzo is also seeking unspecified damages stemming from attorneys fees and other “costs,” ostensibly tied to revenue lost from being unable to license “Truth Hurts” to third parties in the middle of this dispute.