Bethenny Frankel responds to former manager's $100 million lawsuit
Bethenny Frankel, who got her start on Bravo's "Real Housewives of New York City" has responded to her former manager's $100 million lawsuit, saying "I am not going to be bullied."
"Unfortunately, one of the signs of success is being the subject of frivolous lawsuits, like this one," Frankel said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter. "This is simply someone with his hand out, who did nothing to earn it, and I am not going to be bullied."
Los Angeles-based Raw Talent filed their suit in L.A. Superior Court and claimed that Frankel signed with co-president Doug Wald in 2008 and agreed orally to retain him as her personal manager who would receive 10 percent of her earnings plus punitive damages from her Skinnygirl cocktail deal, as previously reported
Frankel, who currently stars in Bravo's spin-off show, "Bethenny Ever After," used her reality show stardom to plug her brand and gain a fan base. The 40-year-old sold her Skinnygirl spirits brand on March 21 to Fortune Brands' Beam Global for a reported $120 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Frankel is not worried about the lawsuit, saying, "We are exploring all of our options, including filing counterclaims against these people."
The brand is best known for its signature Skinnygirl Margarita, a 100 calorie, ready-to-drink product, that was launched in 2009. Frankel will stay on as a collaborator, developer and marketer.
Raw Talent claims that they aided Frankel in putting together Skinnygirl by introducing her to liquor industry veteran David Kanbar, who subsequently put together the company's extremely successful business plan.
"She expressly represented that any agreement relating to the exploitation of the Skinnygirl Cocktail Brand would be commissionable under their management agreement," Raw Talent's complaint reads.
Frankel fired Wald in November 2008, reportedly a few days before signing a development and marketing deal for Skinnygirl with Kanbar. Raw Talent is now asking for 10 percent of the reported $120 million, as well as $100 million in punitive damages to "make an example out of Frankel."
The ready-made cocktail is not her only business. Frankel gave birth to her first child, Bryn, in May 2010 and has since released a fitness DVD, "Body by Bethenny." Frankel has also published three books, New York Times best-seller "Naturally Thin," cookbook "The Skinnygirl Dish" and most recently, "A Place of Yes." She also has endorsement deals with Pepperidge Farm Cookies, Bluefly and Hanes.
The famously frank reality star recently spoke about how unhappy she was with her former breast implants, which left her lamenting to the Daily Mail, "they were still saggy, only now they were bigger." Frankel also recently admit to OK magazine that after she had her baby, she could have "gone on forever not having sex."
Frankel rose to fame as a contestant on the show "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart" in 2005 and was later cast in Bravo's reality series "The Real Housewives of New York City." She was later given her own spin-off, "Bethenny Getting Married?," which showcased her wedding planning, her life with husband Jason Hoppy and the birth of their daughter. In fall of 2010, she competed on ABC's reality show "Skating With the Stars."