Destiny’s Child Manager: Fired Member Couldn’t Handle Schedule

Pop/R&B act decided to fire Farrah Franklin after she failed to show up for Australian tour, Mathew Knowles says.

The manager for pop/R&B act Destiny’s Child said Tuesday that the group’s other members dismissed Farrah Franklin because she couldn’t handle their grueling schedule and failed to show up for a promotional trip to Australia.

Franklin’s departure was officially announced by the group Monday.

“The bottom line is that Farrah didn’t show up for work,” the group’s manager, Mathew Knowles, said. “I don’t care where you work, whether it’s a production line or whatever, if you don’t show up, you’re going to get fired.”

In Monday’s statement issued by Columbia Records, singer Beyoncé Knowles said, “We’re sorry that Farrah won’t be with us for the long run, but we wish her the best in the future. It wasn’t a management decision, it was a group decision.”

An MTV News Online report Thursday quoted the 19-year-old Franklin as saying, “I have not been to sleep in 26 hours. I went to the hospital yesterday for dehydration and the stomach flu.”

“I just don’t think she knew what she was getting into when she joined the group,” Mathew Knowles said. “Farrah had no idea how hard Destiny’s Child worked. We’re the hardest working act on our label.”

“Beyoncé and Kelly [Rowland, the other original member of the group] have never missed a show, ever,” Mathew Knowles said from his Houston office. He said Franklin didn’t make the group’s July 13 flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia, leaving the remaining three members to make radio, television and record store appearances without her.

Franklin could not be reached for comment.

Group Forges Ahead As Trio

Mathew Knowles cited the Temptations and the Supremes as groups who have experienced numerous lineup changes, and he cited their ongoing popularity as proof that, “It’s not about the individual names in the group,” despite the fact that Diana Ross‘ tour with “replacement” Supremes was cut short because of sagging ticket sales.

The statement from Columbia Records referred to Beyoncé Knowles and Rowland as the group’s “leaders and founding members.”

Mathew Knowles, who is Beyoncé’s father and Rowland’s legal guardian, said the other group members talked to Franklin on July 12 and she assured them she would join Destiny’s Child for their trip to Australia. He claims she simply didn’t get on the flight.

The manager said he also talked to Franklin about her missed appearances but that the group’s lawyer officially notified her of her dismissal last week.

Since Franklin’s departure, the group has made several appearances as a trio. Mathew Knowles said the group hopes to find a replacement by the time the band puts out its next album, slated for a February release.

“We’ve done three or four shows already without Farrah and they’ve been phenomenal,” Beyoncé Knowles said in the statement.

“Destiny’s Child has always been a quartet,” Mathew Knowles said, praising the quality of the group as a trio. “I put this group together 10 years ago, and this is the first time we have three legitimate lead vocalists.”

Two Original Members Left

Franklin joined the Houston group in February, after original members LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson left the group. The other replacement singer, Michelle Williams, is still a member of Destiny’s Child.

Beyoncé Knowles told MTV’s “TRL” that the group will perform as a trio on its tour with pop singer Christina Aguilera that begins July 31 in Bonner Springs, Kan. (Sonicnet.com’s parent company, Viacom, also owns MTV.)

On Tuesday, MTV announced that Destiny’s Child was nominated for three of the network’s Video Music Awards — Best R&B Video, Best Group Video, and Best Pop Video — for their #1 pop and R&B hit, “Say My Name.”

Destiny’s Child’s second album, The Writing’s on the Wall, has sold more than 6 million copies and is at #15 in its 51st week on the Billboard 200 albums chart. “Jumpin’ Jumpin’,” the group’s latest single, has been jumping up the magazine’s R&B/Hip-Hop singles chart, moving from #38 two weeks ago to #19 this week. The track also is at #8 on the magazine’s Hot 100 singles chart.

The group’s single “Bills, Bills, Bills” (RealAudio excerpt) was nominated for the Best R&B Song Grammy this year but lost to TLC‘s “No Scrubs.”

The group recorded its next single, “Independent Woman, Pt. 1,” while Franklin was still a member. The tune will be the theme song for the upcoming “Charlie’s Angels” movie, and it’s slotted for a September release.

In March, Roberson and Luckett sued the group and Mathew Knowles, alleging that Knowles misappropriated funds. Knowles had no comment on the lawsuit, which is still pending.