Tommy Vext (Ex-Bad Wolves) Sued by Former Record Label and Management
Bad Wolves’ record label, Better Noise Music, has filed a lawsuit against the band’s former singer, Tommy Vext (né Cummings), for copyright infringement. Bad Wolves’ publisher, Five Nineteen Music Publishing Inc., and managers, 10th Street Entertainment, are also named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was filed in a New York federal court this past Friday, August 20.
The complaint, which can be read here, alleges that Vext has been engaging in “retaliatory conduct” since splitting with Bad Wolves in January, and “has resorted to actively sabotaging the Band by posting unreleased music videos and sound recordings without permission.” The suit also categorizes Vext’s recent announcement that he’ll soon been touring under the name ‘Tommy Vext and The [email protected] W8lv3s’ as “a blatant attempt to confuse concertgoers into thinking this is an approved tour.”
Additionally, the lawsuit goes into significant detail about Vext’s political views and allegations that he abused his ex-girlfriend, fitness model and personal trainer Whitney Johns, who was granted a restraining order against the singer in December. The lawsuit cites these factors as a large part of the reason Vext ultimately left the band:
“Under various stay-at-home orders [during the pandemic], Vext became ‘radicalized’ by the fringe right-wing movement and became an ardent QAnon supporter.
“Vext did not hide his polarizing opinions. He voiced them on social media and through other Internet outlets. Given that he was the lead singer of a prominent rock band, his comments were widely disseminated and created significant controversy.
“Making matters worse, Vext became unhinged. His ex-girlfriend filed for a domestic violence restraining order, claiming that Vext physically assaulted her numerous times and that she was afraid for her life. These claims were, and are, very serious, and they significantly tarnished Vext’s image and reputation.
“This combination of negative press, public outrage and serious domestic violence allegations was bad for Vext, but it also damaged the Band and its other members. The perception was that the other members of Bad Wolves shared Vext’s views and they were viewed as guilty by association.
“Allen Kovac, as Bad Wolves and Vext’s manager, tried to help Vext repair his image and get his career back on track. But Vext would not listen to reason. He grew more and more paranoid and believed that ominous, unnamed forces were trying to ‘cancel’ him and he needed to fight back. This only made things worse.”
The suit goes on to say that “Finally, Vext decided that he needed to quit the Band for the sake of his own career.” And while he was initially magnanimous towards the other members of Bad Wolves, Vext later “claimed that he owns Bad Wolves and has a right to block the remaining members from recording and releasing music under the name Bad Wolves”… which the complaint argues that he does not.
Vext’s attorney, Malcolm S. McNeil of Arent Fox LLP, asserts to Law360 that the lawsuit against his client is “in retaliation” for a different lawsuit that he filed against Kovac and Better Noise Music last month. That complaint alleges breach of fiduciary duties, breach of various agreements, and unjust enrichment. In the suit, Vext claims that Kovac attempted to get him to stop sharing his political views online, and that when he wouldn’t, Kovac launched a campaign to get him ousted from the band. Furthermore, Vext alleges that Kovac, who is white, routinely used racial slurs.
This despite the fact that in June of 2020, at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement’s protests spurred by the murder of George Floyd, Vext said in a video that “racism… doesn’t exist” in America:
“I’m African American, I’m 38-years-old. I’ve grown up in this country and I have not experienced actual racism. I’ve spent twenty years traveling through 48 states and, how many countries? I don’t know, lets say 50 countries all over the world. We don’t have a problem with race here. It’s all manufactured…”
Kovac subsequently denied Vext’s allegations in a statement…
“I am disappointed to see these accusations from Tommy against me, 10th Street Management and Better Noise Music. They are categorically false. In 40 years in the music business, I have never made any derogatory racist comments, been accused of doing so, or been sued by an artist. Tommy Vext, a self-proclaimed QAnon supporter, has dragged us into a ridiculous, unfounded narrative that falsely paints him as a victim.
“Tommy quit Bad Wolves in January 2021 after being abusive to his band members, and he has since waged an all-out assault against the band and its members on social media. Behind the scenes, he and his team of lawyers have been trying to extort the band and the record company for a big payout.
“Because these tactics not successful, he upped the ante and filed this bogus and spurious lawsuit to get leverage in contract negotiations. But this strategic ploy won’t work. We will not be extorted and will defend and defeat these phony claims in court. As a management company and record label, we pride ourselves on working with artists from all different walks of life and encourage them to speak their minds creatively and authentically. I have never forced political beliefs or values on any of our artists or employees, but I also will not tolerate when people create a hostile environment.”
…as did the other members of Bad Wolves:
“In all our dealings with Allen Kovac, he has never used any derogatory racial slurs. Tommy is making all of this up. Period.”
We’ll keep you apprised of this story as it continues to develop.