Two former Destiny's Child members are suing the R&B vocal group, claiming that the group, which has the current #1 single, and its manager forced them out and replaced them with two other singers.
The suit, filed March 15 in Harris County District Court No. 11 in Houston by LeToya Luckett and LaTivia Roberson, alleges that Destiny's Child and their manager, Mathew Knowles, "went on a rampage to destroy ... [Luckett and Roberson's] careers," MTV News reported.
Court records say the suit alleges "tortuous interference" in the careers of Luckett and Roberson. No response has been filed to the initial suit, according to a representative for Roberson's lawyer, Gerald Conley.
Farrah Franklin and Michelle Williams replaced Luckett and Roberson in Destiny's Child last month. Founding member Beyoncé Knowles talked about the lineup change backstage at the Soul Train Awards in Los Angeles on March 4.
"We're working on the legal stuff, so we can't really talk about it, but we will as soon as we settle it," she said. "Destiny's Child is very happy right now. We feel like God has reason for everything."
Beyoncé Knowles and founding member Kelly Rowland are named as defendants in the suit, as is Mathew Knowles, who is Beyoncé's father and Rowland's legal guardian. Franklin and Williams also are named as defendants in the suit.
Rowland said fan response to the new members has been positive. "We've gotten a lot of fan mail," she said at the Soul Train Awards. "I think everybody's really happy, because these ladies are so beautiful and the sound is the same. Even better."
Prior to joining the group, Franklin had worked as a backup singer for R&B vocalist Monica (born Monica Arnold). Williams had appeared as a dancer in the video to Destiny's Child's "Bills, Bills, Bills" (RealAudio excerpt). "I know I'm blessed," Williams said. "This is what I wanted to do."
The suit claims that Roberson and Luckett "have not withdrawn from Destiny's Child despite [the] defendants' wrongful and malicious efforts to force them to do so." The suit also alleges that Mathew Knowles "made money from the girls while the girls themselves made virtually no money," according to MTV News.
Calls to Knowles' management company, Music World Management, were not returned.
Knowles denied the allegations Monday (March 27) in an interview with MTV News. "There have been no misappropriation of funds," Knowles said. "Two members of the group, the background singers LeToya and LaTavia, decided to fire the manager of Destiny's Child and did so without discussing it with the other members."
Destiny's Child's single "Say My Name" is at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles charts. The group, formed in 1998, released its second album, The Writing's on the Wall, in 1999. The album also yielded the radio hit "So Good" (RealAudio excerpt).
The group's performance on the Soul Train Awards was its fifth after the lineup change. Since then, Destiny's Child have performed in Europe and the United States. The group sings in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday, and it is slated to perform five shows at Disney World in Florida in late April and early May.