In a landmark legal case, Lady Gaga is set to redraw the rules of employment, after a ferocious spat with best friend Jennifer O’Neill, who became her personal assistant.
In testimony prepared for a forthcoming trial, Lady Gaga tells in her own words how she reigns as “Queen of the Universe every day” – and why no one should be paid overtime.
The court papers, obtained by The Mail on Sunday, show how Lady Gaga, real name Stefani Germanotta, argues a 9-to-5 job may last 24 hours a day but in return, staff get to sleep between Egyptian cotton sheets, eat caviar, relax on luxury yachts and “party all night”.
Lady Gaga, 27, has submitted the expletive-filled 200-page witness statement that explains in her own words why her entourage get perks instead of cash for extra hours worked.
Lady Gaga is set to redraw the rules of employment, after a ferocious spat with personal assistant Jennifer O’Neill
The singer says: “It’s actually based on a bubbly, good heart. I am quite wonderful to everyone that works for me. I am going to tell you exactly what ******* happened, so that the judge can read on this transcript exactly what’s going on, which is my ex-best friend is a ******* hood rat who is suing me for money that she didn’t earn. The job was essentially a favor, and Jennifer was majorly unqualified for it.”
Jennifer O’Neill, 42, is claiming she worked 7,168 hours of unpaid overtime while being employed by the star for 13 months and is demanding $370,000, plus damages. She claims she was at Lady Gaga’s “beck and call”, responsible for her “grunt work” as the singer’s career took off in 2010.
Jennifer O’Neill, who was paid $1,500 a week, said she often had to share a bed with the star who hated sleeping alone, had to rub the corns on her feet and was woken up because the star could not be bothered to get up to change a DVD.
If Lady Gaga loses the case, due in court in New York on November 4, the verdict will have huge ramifications for entertainment-industry employees because, as Gaga herself says, “overtime payments are not usual in my line of work”.
A source close to the case said: “She thinks nothing of splashing out huge chunks of money on selfish things but when it comes to looking after her staff and paying a fair wage for their time, she is neglectful. It’s double standards. Her selfishness can be breathtaking at times.”
Jennifer O’Neill, Lady Gaga’s former personal assistant, who is currently suing the singer for unpaid overtime, has revealed in court depositions that she shared the same bed as Gaga during her Monster’s Ball tour in 2010.
“I was by her side virtually 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Jennifer O’Neill said in her deposition.
“That includes sleeping in the same bed with her. Because she did not sleep alone.”
When asked if it was requirement for Jennifer O’Neill to share the same sleeping quarters with Lady Gaga, she responded: “I felt it was.”
Jennifer O’Neill said that she was the only member of Lady Gaga’s entourage that didn’t have her own hotel room.
“Unlike anybody else on that tour, I did not have my own hotel room. I was not asked if I wanted my own hotel room,” she said.
“I had no privacy, no chance to talk to any family, no chance to talk to any friends, no chance to have sex if I wanted to have sex. There was no chance to do anything.”
In the deposition documents, obtained by the New York Post, Jennifer O’Neill does not make any suggestion that she and Lady Gaga had any kind of sexual relationship.
But she claims that Lady Gaga was incredibly demanding, not giving her anytime to do anything for herself.
“And she was quite irate that she couldn’t reach me on my phone a couple of times, and was quite angry and asked me why she was paying for this hotel room if I was unreachable,” Jennifer O’Neill said in the deposition.
Jennifer O’Neill, Lady Gaga’s former personal assistant, has revealed she shared the same bed as Gaga during her Monster’s Ball tour in 2010
Jennifer O’Neill also describes one time that Lady Gaga made several demands whist O’Neill was trying to get her hair cut.
“She might have said <<I need some tea, I need – can you get my computer for me, can you get my phone, my battery is dead, I need a tampon, the toilet doesn’t flush>>,” Jennifer O’Neill said.
“Another thing she would do in the middle of the night, would be wake me up to have me change the DVD in the DVD player because she didn’t want to watch that DVD anymore and she couldn’t get up to walk across the room to change the DVD herself.”
Lady Gaga tweeted somewhat of a response to the new emerging details on her Twitter account on Saturday, claiming that Jennifer O’Neill had, as well as being her personal assistant, been one of her good friends.
“Everyone’s headlines need an updating. <<former assistant>> is actually <<my best friend from NY since I was 19>>. Painful stuff,” she wrote.
Jennifer O’Neill, from Long Island, launched her legal action against Lady Gaga, claiming she was overworked and underpaid, at the end of last year.
She was employed by the star for 13 months, accompanying her on her Monster Ball world tour in 2011.
Jennifer O’Neill, 41, alleges that she put in 7,168 hours of unpaid overtime and is now owed more than $380,000, according to the report in the New York Post.
The former personal assistant claims she had to cater to Lady Gaga’s at times unreasonable demands around the clock.
Jennifer O’Neill insists she had to ensure “the promptness of a towel following a shower and serving as a personal alarm clock to keep [Gaga] on schedule”.
She was not given breaks for meals “or, at times, even sleep”, and needed to be available at the star’s “earliest waking hour” or for “spontaneous, random matters in the middle of the night”, according to the court papers.
Jennifer O’Neill, who was paid $75,000-a-year, also had to ensue “the availability of chosen outfits”. Lady Gaga is, of course, famous for her eccentric wardrobe and once wore a meat dress to MTV Video Music Awards.
She filed the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court in December against Lady Gaga’s Mermaid Touring company for unpaid overtime.
Lady Gaga dismissed Jennifer O’Neill’s lawsuit in a video-taped deposition from August last year in New York, saying: “[Jennifer is a] f***ing hood rat who is suing me for money that she didn’t earn.
“She thinks she’s just like the queen of the universe. And, you know what, she didn’t want to be a slave to one, because in my work and what I do, I’m the queen of the universe every day.
“She knew there was no overtime, and I never paid her overtime the first time I hired her, so why would she be paid overtime the second time? This whole case is b******* and you know it.”
Jennifer O’Neill is not the first personal assistant to complain about working for Lady Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta.
Former employee Angela Ciemny also claimed she was required to sleep with Lady Gaga most nights because she refused to be alone, according to the book Poker Face: The Rise and Rise of Lady Gaga.
Lady Gaga lashed out at her former assistant Jennifer O’Neill, who is suing her for nearly $400,000 for unpaid overtime.
Lady Gaga, 26, branded Jennifer O’Neill a “f****** hood rat who is suing me for money she didn’t earn” during six hours of questioning at a Midtown Manhattan law office.
As she painted a picture of boozy, caviar-filled bashes – which left her “s**t hammered, crawling and screaming on the streets of Paris” at 5 a.m. – Lady Gaga insisted her former assistant had slept in “Eygptian cotton” sheets and travelled the world on a private jet, ranting: “She’s just – she thinks she’s just like the queen of the universe.
“And, you know what, she didn’t want to be a slave to one, because in my work and what I do, I’m the queen of the universe every day.”
According to court documents, Lady Gaga – real name Stefani Germanotta – complained that she got stressed when Jennifer O’Neill would only open a “couple of bags” while they were travelling and that she was left to move “these huge, big luggages… and s**t all by myself in the room”.
Lady Gaga noted “there is 20 bags and only me, and I can’t sift through everything”.
“She would only open a couple of bags and it was very stressful for me because then again on my off days I couldn’t really have a day off because, you know, I weigh 115 pounds and I was trying to move these huge, big luggages all by myself in the room and I did it all the time – by the way, she was asleep until 12:00 most of the time, so I was very often waking up and moving my own luggage and doing s**t by myself and it was – it was a problem that I had.”
And while previous assistants “would like to set up my room and I would know where my clothes were, I would know where my toothbrush was, I would know where my soap was and everything was”, Lady Gaga said that when Jennifer O’Neill “got lazy, she didn’t always do these things for me”.
Lady Gaga – who now has two personal assistants – added: “I can’t walk down the street and go buy myself toiletries, I have to call security, I’ve got to call Jen or now I got to call Wendi, I’ve got to get a whole bunch of people together to help me fix the problem, which wouldn’t happen if she was doing her job properly on regular days.”
Lady Gaga also gave an insight into her five-star lifestyle, which included flights on private jets, modeling in Paris and partying until 5a.m. in Paris with celebrity photographer Terry Richardson – ending up “s**t hammered…crawling on the streets of Paris, I was screaming”.
Jennifer O’Neill, 42, from Long Island, was employed by Lady Gaga for 13 months on a $75,0000 salary, accompanying the singer on her Monster Ball world tour in 2010.
She claims she was serving at Lady Gaga’s “beck and call” as the singer’s career took off between 2009 and March 2011.
However, Lady Gaga portrayed Jennifer O’Neill as an ingrate who took for granted the excesses, the parties, the “five star hotels” and other luxuries, including “caviar, champagne and yachts”, that she was allowed to enjoy as part of Gaga’s entourage – saying “she thinks it’s owed to her for no reason”.
Lady Gaga also described Jennifer O’Neill as a “disgusting human being” who should have been grateful for living a luxury lifestyle that included “sleeping in Egyptian cotton sheets every night, in five-star hotels, on private planes, eating caviar… and using my YSL discount without my permission”.
As she unleashed a tirade of abuse while giving her videoed testimony on August 6, Lady Gaga accused Jennifer O’Neill of staring at her “like a witch” and also fired expletives at the claimant’s lawyer.
Lady Gaga lashed out at her former assistant Jennifer O’Neill, who is suing her for nearly $400,000 for unpaid overtime
Lady Gaga insisted that none of her employees are paid overtime, adding: “She [Jennifer O’Neill] knew there was no overtime, and I never paid her overtime the first time I hired her, so why would she be paid overtime the second time? This whole case is b******t and you know it.”
Staring at Jennifer O’Neill, Lady Gaga raged: “Are you going to stare at me like a witch this whole time – honestly? Because this is going to be a long f***ing day that you brought me here.”
Her foul-mouthed evidence, revealed in court papers seen by the New York Post, came in defence of a 2011 lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court by Jennifer O’Neill, who claims she is owed more than $393,000, plus damages, for 7,168 hours of overtime.
In her evidence, Lady Gaga claims Jennifer O’Neill, who was paid around $75,000 a year, was given the job as a “favor” because she was majorly underqualified and failed at even the most basic tasks, such as unpacking her bags for her.
Lady Gaga said that her decision not to pay overtime wasn’t based on labor laws, but is “actually based on a bubbly, good heart”, as she insisted: “I’m quite wonderful to everyone that works for me and I am completely aghast to what a disgusting human being that you have become to sue me like this.”
The star claimed that she had treated how the night before her testimony, she treated her employees to a “beautiful $3000 meal” at Spiaggia in Chicago, the only four-star Italian eatery in the Windy City.
Lady Gaga also insisted that all her employees work only an eight-hour day, although she admitted: “This job is a 9-to-5 job that is spaced out throughout the day.
“You don’t get a schedule that is like you punch in and you can play f***ing Tetris at your desk for four hours and then you punch out at the end of the day. This is – when I need you, you’re available.”
Although she said she was in no way discounting how hard an 8-hour work day can be or discounting the role of an assistant, Lady Gaga added: “I do six shows a week and I make a lot of money. I work, I work 24-hours a day. I’m not standing next to Steve holding tea, waiting for him to take a sip, that is now what I do.
“Not that people who do that don’t deserve their hourly pay, but I’m just pointing out that I deserve everything I’ve worked for. I deserve every dollar of it. And she deserves every dollar of her $75,000 that we agreed to. But she does not deserve a penny more.”
Rather than paying off Jennifer O’Neill, Lady Gaga revealed: “I’m going to give all the money that she wants to my employees that work hard for me now that deserve it. I’m not going to give it to her so she can go to Intermix and buy herself a new tube top.”
Lady Gaga told how her relationship with Jennifer O’Neill ended following a trip to Paris, where she walked the runway at Thierry Mugler’s fall 2011 fashion show.
She claimed Jennifer O’Neill “wore my coat when were at the show, she wore my clothes”.
The pair “partied until 5 in the morning, we got s***t hammered, I was crawling on the streets in Paris, I was screaming”.
“Jennifer was there. She hung out all night with me and Terry Richardson and tons of socialites from Paris and she had the time of her life.”
The next morning, Lady Gaga said, she “barely could talk; but had to fly back to America that night”, adding: “I mean, what a rock-star moment, right?”
However, on the flight back, Lady Gaga claimed her assistant insisted on sleeping in the second bed on the private plane and “completely, like, flipped out at me, beyond belief”, when “I told her no”.
She said most of her assistants in the past had always offered the spare bed to guests on the plane – and she claimed that Jennifer O’Neill even refused to share any pillows with two other women on board, saying she was sickened by it.
Lady Gaga claimed: “I said: <<Jennifer, this is really inappropriate in front of Terry Richardson>> and she was like <<Don’t I get some sort of seniority because I’ve been here longer and I’m your friend?>>.
“And I remember those words as clear as day, because when your best friend looks you in the eye and says <<Why can’t I have that seat on your private plane, I’m your friend>>, the first thing I thought was <<You’re not my f***ing friend. You are not my f****ing friend>>.”
Last year, it emerged that Jennifer O’Neill believes Lady Gaga has no right to privacy because she is always exposing her body for the world.
In court papers, she argues the singer’s demands for privacy are “ludicrous” as she always dresses in a bizarre and intimate way.
Her views were revealed as lawyers went back to court last September to seek access to a series of photos taken by famed photographer Terry Richardson for his book Lady Gaga x Terry Richardson.
Lady Gaga refused to hand over the photos saying they are “private and personal”. A judge allowed the pictures to be used – but Lady Gaga’s legal camp asked for the decision to be reconsidered, which is still ongoing.
Lawyers for Jennifer O’Neill say they will show O’Neill was on call all the time.
Sources also claim that Lady Gaga’s camp have already failed to hand over emails which could help Jennifer O’Neill’s case, in discovery before the suit, and are now facing sanctions over this. This could see them face a financial fine and also be banned from presenting parts of their case.