R&B singer R. Kelly filed a $75 million breach-of-contract suit Monday against fellow recording star Jay-Z, accusing the rapper and his associates of threats and violence that turned their joint tour into a "nightmare."
The "Best of Both Worlds" tour was canceled following a tumultuous performance Friday at Madison Square Garden during which Kelly abruptly left the stage after telling the audience he saw two men in the crowd brandishing guns.
Kelly said he and three of his bodyguards were confronted backstage a short time later by a member of Jay-Z's entourage who blasted them in the face with pepper spray. A security sweep of the concert hall failed to find any weapons.
Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, issued a statement through his record label Monday saying it was Kelly who had created a "dangerous situation" by claiming to have seen guns being waved in the audience. The statement said it was "the equivalent of screaming 'fire' in a crowded theater."
The promoter of the 40-city-plus joint tour, which began Sept. 29, canceled the remainder of the dates Saturday after Jay-Z said he was unwilling to perform with Kelly again, according to Allan Mayer, a Kelly spokesman.
In his lawsuit, filed in the state Supreme Court in Manhattan, Kelly said Friday night's incident marked the latest example of how Jay-Z and his associates had turned what had been an "historic and highly anticipated tour . . . into a nightmare" that was "motivated by spite and jealousy."
The suit seeks $15 million in compensatory damages and at least $60 million in punitive damages.