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In a lawsuit that could be the plot of the fictitious third Chocolate City film, actress Vivica A. Fox is being sued for allegedly stealing strippers and slandering her business partner.
Jean-Claude LaMarre says he conceived Chocolate City as a Magic Mike-style movie targeted to people of color and recruited a star-studded cast including Fox, model-turned-actor Tyson Beckford, Michael Jai White and Ginuwine for the 2015 flick and a 2016 sequel.
After two films, LaMarre decided to hit the road with a real-life exotic male review. His film investors weren’t interested, so he decided to pursue the project using the name Black Magic Live.
As he was getting the show off the ground, LaMarre was approached by Propagate Content to develop a reality series based on the lives of male exotic dancers for Lifetime — but he says they wanted a female lead, so he suggested Fox.
“LaMarre believed that the exposure and publicity that Black Magic Live would receive from the reality series would dwarf any negative impact from the perception of an actor, Fox, running his business,” writes attorney Neville Johnson in the complaint, adding that the series was dubbed Vivica’s Black Magic because of clearance issues.
Capitalizing on the premiere of the series, LaMarre began planning a 75-city Black Magic Live tour. During an interview publicizing the show, Fox told a New York radio show that the male review tour was intended for women, not gay men.
LaMarre says the statements were reported as homophobic, and LGBT groups responded with calls for a boycott of the series and the live shows — so he did an interview with TMZ apologizing, and distanced himself from Fox. That’s when he says she began secretly planning a competing business, Xplicit Minds, and recruited four of the five Black Magic dancers from the reality series.
“Fox began a campaign of defamation against LaMarre, telling the dancers that LaMarre didn’t care about them, was exploiting them, and taking advantage of them, and now that they were on the brink of celebrity, they no longer needed LaMarre,” writes Johnson. “Fox also began advertising her Xplicit Minds shows as dancers ‘from Vivica’s Black Magic.'”
Further, LaMarre claims Fox told dancers and staff that they had to take sides — and anyone who didn’t choose hers wouldn’t be back for season two of the Lifetime series. He says he decided to rebuild the Black Magic Live tour without the dancers who defected and set a series of Southern California shows, but customers canceled their tickets because Fox repeatedly posted on social media that his shows were fake and fans shouldn’t go see them.
LaMarre is suing for libel, slander and intentional interference with contractual relations, among other claims. A representative for Fox has not yet replied to a request for comment on the complaint, which is posted in full below.
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