Azealia Banks Sued for Defamation, Stalking, Invasion of Privacy by Prospect Park CEO

Azealia Banks
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Azealia Banks performs at The Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto on May 8, 2019.

Rapper Azealia Banks is being sued for defamation, stalking, invasion of privacy and civil extortion by entertainment industry executive Jeff Kwatinetz.

According to the legal filing, the relationship between Kwatinetz -- founder and CEO of the Prospect Park talent management and music label -- soured a year after he signed her to his label. Kwatinetz says he brought Banks onto his label in 2014 and distributed her debut album Broke With Expensive Taste before dropping her as a client “due to her erratic behavior as well as for refusing to engage in basic promotion for her album,” according to his complaint.

Things between Kwatinetz and Banks didn’t heat up again until early this summer, when Kwatinetz says Banks began accusing him of “perceived injustices and advancing false claims, including that Prospect Park is withholding royalties.” According to Kwatinetz, Banks’ album was “considered a financial failure,” which he said was due to Banks’ “self-defeating acts like refusing to allow Prospect Park to have the single played at Top 40.

“Banks' claims run the gamut of the absurd, and could easily be ignored and written off as the rantings of a lunatic, but her recent rants took an ominous and dangerous turn,” Kwatinetz’s complaint states. “Banks posted YouTube videos and other social media posts in which she threatened the lives of Kwatinetz and his wife and young children, and posted photos of herself outside his home in Los Angeles shortly before an attempted burglary of that home, all the while inciting her fans to take up her cause.”

Among other things, he accuses Banks of inciting her followers by tweeting “@JeffKwatinetz Give Azealia her royalties before we leak your address!!!” and of posting on Instagram that he had actress Brittany Murphy killed.

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“All of this terrifying conduct appears to be a coordinated campaign of extortion,” states the complaint. “Sadly, for Banks, it all comes down to money to which she is not entitled, and there appear to be no means she will not use to get it.”

Besides damages, Kwatinetz is asking the court to issue an injunction to require Banks to stay at least 100 feet away from his family and to refrain from engaging in any threats of physical harm against them.

Banks has not responded to Billboard’s request for comment.