If you’re like us, you probably cherish those times in your life in which worrying about the legal, philosophical, and branding troubles of the country music trio formerly known as Lady Antebellum—now known as “Lady A,” and also “Those people who won’t stop stepping on easily avoided public relations rakes”—was not part of your literal job descriptions. And yet here we are, reporting tonight that the three-person “American Honey” group has now gone from “Just noticing, in 2020, that its name might have connotations with slavery” to “suing a Black performer because she apparently doesn’t want to share her name with them” in terms of shooting themselves in the “Not-looking-like-assholes” foot.
This is per The Hollywood Reporter, which reports that Lady A (the band) is now suing Lady A (the singer, a.k.a. Seattle musician Anita White) over their right to use the Lady A name. To be extremely clear, the band is not saying White can’t use the name, and they’re not seeking any kind of monetary damages from her. But they do seem to be preemptively claiming that White can’t sue them, if she decides she’s not happy about suddenly sharing the name she’s been performing under for more than 20 years. (In cases like this, the plaintiff is presumably seeking the right to set the jurisdiction for the trial, rather than the reverse situation they’d be dealing with if they waited for White to take the first legal move.) Per the THR report, talks between the Ladys A apparently broke down recently; Rolling Stone has a statement from the band, in which they were apparently very sad that White took the frankly badass move of demanding $10 million from them if they wanted to start trading on her good name:
Today we are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended. She and her team have demanded a $10 million payment, so reluctantly we have come to the conclusion that we need to ask a court to affirm our right to continue to use the name Lady A, a trademark we have held for many years… We hope Anita and the advisers she is now listening to will change their minds about their approach. We can do so much more together than in this dispute.
White has yet to comment publicly on the suit. The band, meanwhile, claims it trademarked the “Lady A” name back in 2010, as a nickname that appeared on merchandise and in other entertainment materials, and that no one said a peep about it then. So far, however, they’ve yet to give any solid evidence as to why they’re so devoted to this particular moniker, given that there are any number of perfectly good other titles—“Lady Whoops We Done Goofed It Up Again” or “The Sorry, Sorry, We’re Trying To Fix Its” both springing immediately to mind—out there just waiting to be seized.