Justin Raisen, Jeremiah Raisen, and Justin “Yves” Rothman are countersuing Lizzo over plagiarism claims surrounding the hit song “Truth Hurts,” as The New York Times reports and Pitchfork can confirm via court documents.
In their countersuit, filed today (February 28) in a California federal court, the Raisens and Rothman reassert claims they made online last year that they worked on a demo with Lizzo that eventually became “Truth Hurts.”
The lawsuit includes excerpts from alleged text message exchanges with producer Ricky Reed, which appear to show Reed reaching out to Justin Raisen after “Truth Hurts” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. “I want this resolved,” Reed appears to say to Raisen in the text messages.
In addition to Lizzo, the Raisens and Rothman name producer Ricky Reed, as well as credited “Truth Hurts” co-writers jesse saint john and Tele in the countersuit. They are asking for Lizzo’s lawsuit to be thrown out, to be given ownership of the demo “Healthy,” and to be given co-ownership of and appropriate royalties from “Truth Hurts.”
When reached by Pitchfork, the Raisens and Rothman’s attorney Lawrence Y. Iser sent the following statement:
Lizzo is a talented musician and performer who currently enjoys
immense popularity based on a hit song that she did not write alone.
The Counterclaims we filed today seek a judgment from the court that
the song that is now called “Truth Hurts” originated in Justin
Raisen’s home recording studio from a collaboration among our clients,
Justin and Jeremiah Raisen and Yves Rothman, along with Lizzo and
jesse saint john. When the case proceeds to trial, we look forward to
sharing the sound recordings, videos, photographs, and musicology that
100% prove that collaboration. Our clients deserve their fair share of
the recognition and revenue that comes from collaborating on a hit
From the standpoint of the industry as a whole, a contrary result
would make it impossible for working musicians to be confident that
they will be properly credited for their work if they get into a
studio and create songs with powerful artists.
Lizzo filed her lawsuit against the Raisens and Rothman in October 2019, seeking a declaration that the men “did not co-author ‘Truth Hurts,’ and have no right to co-own that work or to share in its profits.” On October 23, Lizzo’s lawyer, Cynthia S. Arato, said the brothers had previously insisted “that they were making no claims to the work”; the Raisens denied Arato’s claim the same day.
Pitchfork has reached out to Cynthia S. Arato and Lizzo’s representatives for comment.
Read “Who Wrote Lizzo’s ‘Truth Hurts’? Who Knows?” on the Pitch.