Ola Ray, a former Playboy Playmate and the girl from the Michael Jackson “Thriller” video, is suing Michael and his production company for royalties on the video. The video, from 1983, is regarded as one of the “most successful music videos” and has made millions around the world. Now Ola feels, 26 years later, that she should finally receive the “significant sum” that she is owed.
The former Playboy centerfold who played Michael Jackson’s crush in his legendary “Thriller” video wants a jury to end her nightmare of trying to collect royalties.
Ola Ray, 48, filed a lawsuit in Santa Monica, Calif., Tuesday claiming Jackson deadbeat when it comes to paying for her her famous strut and blood-curdling scream in the 14-minute zombie fest.
“She just wants to get her fair share of payments from this extremely successful project that she’s very proud of,” her lawyer Jason Feldman told the Daily News. “She did receive some payments early on, but we don’t believe they were complete, and they were never timely.”
A Jackson attorney reportedly paid an unspecified amount to Ray through the Screen Actors Guild in 1998, but payments to date have fallen short, Feldman said.
“We’re expecting it to be a significant sum that she’s owed,” he said. “The video continues to sell a lot worldwide and was just released again for it 25th anniversary.”
He said licensing of the video’s content and images to various DVDs and video games might also add up to a “substantial sum.”
[from NY Daily News]
It sounds like she’s been trying to sue for royalties for some time and hasn’t been successful. But it shouldn’t have taken her 26 years to figure out how to sue. She was a Playboy centerfold in 1980, three years before the video, which means that she probably had the cash to get good lawyers and fix the problem at that time. Still, the wheels of justice turn slowly, so maybe we should give her a break on the timing.
As for Michael Jackson, this is just the latest in a laundry list of legal issues he has been dealing with. Many of his possessions, including many statues of young boys and girls, were put up for auction against his will, and his lawyers were unable to stop it. There is a 27-city tour currently being planned, but who knows if his profits from even that will be able to refill his pocketbook.
He should probably stop buying deluxe masks for his kids and stick to the traditional medical facemask – he’s going to need the cash.