Spinderella's Royalties Lawsuit Against Salt-N-Pepa Ordered to Mediation, As Duo Likens Fight to 'Divorce'

Salt-N-Pepa attend the 2016 MTV Movie Awards
Christopher Polk/Getty Images for MTV

Sandra 'Pepa' Denton, DJ Spinderella and Cheryl 'Salt' James of Salt-N-Pepa attend the 2016 MTV Movie Awards at Warner Bros. Studios on April 9, 2016 in Burbank, Calif.

A U.S. District Court judge has rejected DJ Spinderella’s requests for immediate relief against former bandmates Salt-N-Pepa over alleged unpaid royalties, a spokesperson for the duo revealed Friday (Aug. 2). The judge has instead ordered the case to mediation.   

“We are grateful for the judge’s ruling as Salt-N-Pepa have been extremely generous to Spin over many decades and attempted to settle what amounts to a divorce, both peacefully and without rancor,” a statement on behalf of the duo reads. “Unfortunately, Spin and her legal team adopted a scorched earth approach that brought unnecessary attention to a business dispute that all along could have, and should have, been settled amicably and privately.”

Spinderella (aka Deidra Roper) filed suit against Salt-N-Pepa (aka Cheryl James and Sandra Denton) last month (as first reported by TMZ), claiming they’ve failed to pay her hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties beginning with the group’s 1999 Best Of set. Roper alleges she was cut out of more than $600,000 in royalties over the last decade, in addition to receiving less than what she was owed for The Salt-N-Pepa Show, a VH1 reality series on which she made occasional guest appearances. Additionally, she claims to have gone uncompensated for the group’s performance at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards.

Paul Stafford, a lawyer representing Spinderella, sent this statement to Billboard about the ruling: “Although the Court denied today’s request for a temporary restraining order, Salt-N-Pepa have agreed [to] not make any reference to Spinderella in connection with any promotion, and will make good faith efforts to cause others to honor the same. In addition, the parties were ordered by the Court to mediate this case -- further substantiating Spinderella’s legal and equitable rights against the Defendants to protect her brand and reputation, as well as her right to be compensated for her work.”

Roper sued James and Denton for fraud, breach of contract and trademark infringement, the latter owing to what she alleges is their continued use of her name to promote performances. In May, Roper announced in an Instagram post that she had been fired from the group in January.