TLC’s former manger (and recording artist in her own right) Perri “Pebbles” Reid and Viacom have reached a settlement in the $40 million defamation lawsuit Reid filed against the media company. In her complaint, Reid alleged that VH1's 2013 TLC biopic CrazySexyCool portrayed her as a “conniving and dishonest business woman who hoodwinked three innocent girls and exploited their talent for her own personal gain.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the case was set to go to trial September 24, but now is administratively closed.
While the court did not conclude that everything Pebbles cited was in fact defamatory, it did allow her to sue over “scenes where she was shown pressuring the group’s members to sign contracts without sufficient time, for scenes showing Reid exerting control over lawyers for the group’s members, for scenes that conveyed the idea that Reid improperly deducted expenses and only paid TLC $25 a week, and for a scene conveying that it was Reid’s decision to remove Chilli from TLC,” according to THR.
Surviving TLC members Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas cooperated with the CrazySexyCool filmmakers in the dramatized portrayal of their rise to fame; this helped convince the judge of the possibility of bias, as alleged by Pebbles’s complaint.
TLC was formed by Pebbles in 1991, and its members signed several binding deals with her production company, Pebbitone. These were detailed in an episode of VH1's Behind the Music. “The deal that we signed with Pebbles, it wasn’t a good or a bad deal,” Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes explained in the doc. “It’s the type of deal that new artists get. The bad thing about the deal was that Pebbles had us signed to so many deals. She just had her fingers in the pot all across the board.”
Behind the Music alleged that the group owed Pebbitone approximately $500,000 when it filed for bankruptcy in 1995.
Regarding the allegations of CrazySexyCool and Behind in the Music, Pebbles said “all of it is bad,” in a 2013 interview on The Wendy Williams Show. Pebbles said she was not portrayed as a visionary, as she should have been, in CrazySexyCool. Gesturing to a photograph of the group taken around the time of the release of its 1992 debut album, Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip, Pebbles told Williams, “these are my visions, I came up with those,” referring to the painted clothing TLC wore. When asked if she made TLC buy their name back from her for $1 million per letter, Pebbles refused to go into detail, citing a confidentiality agreement, but she did call TLC’s allegation a “sound bite.” Still, she resolved, “It was my name, not theirs. I created that name.”
The exact terms of the settlement were not revealed.