Nadine Lustre ready to fight Viva after talent agency says she can’t quit

<i>Photo: Nadine Lustre / FB</i>
Photo: Nadine Lustre / FB

Having a bad month?

Well, at least your bad days aren’t up for public scrutiny like those of actress Nadine Lustre, whose lawyer today said they’re prepared to countersue over her right to leave her talent agency.

Lustre’s attorney Lorna Kapunan said they were ready to go to war with Viva Artists Agency after it threatened to sue the actress if she terminates her contract.

“We welcome any legal action by Viva so their unconscionable, oppressive and illegal contract with Nadine (and their other artists) can be litigated in the proper forum,” Kapunan said in a statement sent to CNN Philippines today.

Lustre’s breakup with Viva was made public Monday by Kapunan & Castillo Law Offices.

In a statement dated Friday, it said Lustre “has decided to terminate her agency contract with Viva,” and that moving forward, the actress would be “self-managed and will continue to be so indefinitely.” The statement also added that Lustre would deal directly with bookings and inquiries.

The performer gave no reason for her decision to leave Viva.

Shortly after the statement circulated on social media, Viva rebutted it with its own statement declaring the 26-year-old celeb “remains an exclusive artist of VIVA as she has a valid and subsisting Management Contract.”

The agency added that under the law, Lustre cannot unilaterally terminate the agreement and that any professional engagements that she enters without its approval will constitute a breach of contract. Viva also threatened to “initiate appropriate legal action” against the actress and third parties who will allegedly violate the contract.

But it seems, Lustre isn’t taking any of this sitting down, and Kapunan slammed the talent agency for taking “advantage of young artists in the industry.”

“Viva lawyers have not replied to our earlier letters but chose to wait in ambush to malign Nadine and harass third parties dealing with her in good faith. This is wrongful and malicious contract interference by Viva [and is] actionable in law for damages,” she said.

It’s the latest in a string of recent controversies involving Lustre. Earlier this month, she publicly accused veteran entertainment journalist Ricky Lo of making up a report that she broke up with boyfriend James Reid which turned out to be true. Shortly after that, another entertainment reporter, Jobert Sucaldito, attacked Lustre for supposedly disrespecting Lo. Sucaldito also cracked a mean-spirited suicide joke in the process, drawing fresh criticism from both Lustre and the Twittersphere. He later apologized.

Lustre launched her career as a Viva-signed artist in 2009 as a singer and member of girl group Pop Girls. Under Viva’s management, she broke through in the 2014 romcom Diary ng Panget (Diary of an Ugly (Girl)), and on the hit primetime TV drama series On The Wings of Love.

Reid, her former boyfriend, left Viva amicably in October.

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