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Iconic Village People band sues Disney for more than $20 MILLION

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Disney is facing another lawsuit as the Village People sue for more than $20 million claiming payments for performances were slow-rolled and that the band was “blackballed” from playing at its theme parks.

Karen Willis, the wife of the Village People’s longtime lead singer, Victor Willis, filed a lawsuit that Disney tried to dismiss last year. But a judge has allowed the case to move forward according to legal documents obtained by TMZ.

Willis, an original member of the band, was the lead singer and co-wrote many of the Village People’s iconic hits, including “Y.M.C.A.,”,  “Macho Man” and “In The Navy.” His wife, who manages the group’s trademark for live performances, claimed Disney treated them poorly after a performance at Walt Disney World in Florida in 2018, though the band had been appearing annually at the park for decades.

According to TMZ:

Willis says the Village People and Disney had a good relationship up until this year — saying the band had performed there annually for at least a decade — but in recent years … there’d been a fracture in the band with old members, who were trying to keep the yearly gig going.

Long story short … Willis says Victor and Jacques Morali — another OG member — were allowed to perform at Disney after winning the rights to their music from the other guys … and when they did performances in 2018, everything went swimmingly at first …but quickly went south.

 

TMZ noted that Willis claimed she was “physically blocked by Disney workers and even ushered away” when she tried to help at the sound booth to achieve a better quality audio for the show.

“Willis claims that she and Victor were physically attacked by overzealous fans in the park — whom she says were planted by the spurned ex-band members. Willis says Disney provided no extra security for them, despite her husband’s contract requiring it,” the outlet reported.

Payments were also a problem as Disney allegedly sent checks made out to the wrong people or groups, thus rendering it impossible for Willis and the other members to get paid. Karen Willis claimed that attempts to resolve the issue with Disney were not successful as they were given the cold shoulder and then not re-booked for future shows.

Disney filed a motion to have the case dismissed, saying it had a right not to rehire the Village People. That motion was rejected by the court, however, and the case will now be moving forward.