As Lizzo gears up to fight a hostile-workplace lawsuit filed by three former dancers who say they were subjected to sexual harassment and discrimination, she's hired notorious Hollywood attorney Martin D. Singer, a.k.a. Marty Singer. His work with his A-list client roster earned him Entertainment Lawyer of the Year from the Beverly Hills Bar Assn. and a reputation as “Hollywood’s favorite legal hit man.”
Singer told The Times this month that he is confident Lizzo “will be completely vindicated in this matter.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the career-saving celebrity go-to, look to Sharon Stone, who said at a 2012 tribute honoring Singer, “Marty’s like when [Mike] Tyson bit the ear off that guy ... that’s like Marty in law.”
Or Charlie Sheen, who honored the litigator the same night, toasting, “Marty might be the only person who has f— more people than I have. ... A lot has been said about my past, but trust me, I never screwed a hooker as hard as Marty screwed Warner Bros.” Sheen added: “I’ve got 100 million reasons to say thank you.”
In a 2017 profile, Vanity Fair wrote of the attorney: "For every story Singer kills or gets taken down, there's another he's delayed, or defanged, or pushed off the front page, or had corrected or retracted. Singer is a kind of legal termite, eating away at foundations: one errant detail, he tells editors, makes a story, or a source, or a reporter, wholly unreliable."
When the facts aren't on Singer's side, the magazine said, "he deals," trading exclusive interviews with his clients, or photos, if an editor will kill or hold a story.
Singer’s résumé includes Hollywood heavyweights Bill Cosby, John Travolta, Scarlett Johansson, Kevin Costner, Chris Brown, Johnny Depp, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jonah Hill, Priscilla Presley, Sylvester Stallone, Michael Jackson, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, Britney Spears, Naomi Campbell, Jim Carrey, Matt Damon, Celine Dion, Jamie Foxx, Justin Timberlake, Brendan Fraser, the late James Gandolfini, Anthony Hopkins, Alicia Keys, Stacy Keach, Demi Moore, Katy Perry, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Piven, Whitney Houston and director-producer Brett Ratner, to name a few.
But let’s take a closer look at the ways he’s worn the superhero cape for various celebrities through the years.
Singer represented the actor in his legal battle with Warner Bros. and “Two and a Half Men” executive producer Chuck Lorre over his departure from the sitcom. Sheen was at odds with the studio and Lorre after Warner Bros. shut down production of the CBS sitcom so Sheen could seek treatment for substance abuse issues. Warner Bros. later fired Sheen after he publicly criticized the studio and Lorre. The actor responded with a $100-million lawsuit, and although he toasted Singer with the “$100 million reasons” bit, he reportedly settled for about $25 million.
In 2012, two massage therapists filed a $2-million lawsuit against Travolta, alleging that he sexually assaulted them. Singer asserted that Travolta was on the East Coast at the time of the alleged encounter and therefore couldn't have assaulted the massage therapists in Beverly Hills. He called their claims "totally false and fabricated."
"Our client will be fully vindicated in court on both of these absurd and fictional claims," Singer promised at the time. The accusers wound up dropping the lawsuit.
In October 2017, former marketing executive Melanie Kohler alleged in a Facebook post that filmmaker Brett Ratner had raped her 12 years prior. Singer, Ratner's go-to guy, went directly to Kohler to try to get her to remove the post. She later told The Times that Singer called her and "scared" her into taking down her post; he said she had changed her account of events multiple times and removed the post after he calmly confronted her.
On Nov. 1, 2017, in a Los Angeles Times story, six women — including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge — accused Ratner of sexual harassment and misconduct that allegedly took place in private homes, on movie sets or at industry events. Kohler was not quoted in The Times' story.
Ratner denied all the allegations and sued Kohler for libel in her home state of Hawaii hours after the Munn-Henstridge story was published, but dropped his lawsuit after the two reached a settlement the next year. She has since told her story publicly, but Singer did not apologize for chipping away at what he saw as inconsistencies in her story.
“I know people think I’m attacking victims. I’m this horrible person. I’m just trying to do a job,” Singer told The Times in 2017. “Nobody screws my clients. If someone tries to go after them, I look out for them as if they’re my family.”
In 2015, "New Girl" star Zooey Deschanel was repped by Singer when her ex-managers sued her for alleged unpaid commissions related to her Fox comedy as well as compensation for the multimillion-dollar sale of her Hello Giggles website.
“The lawsuit filed by Seven Summits is completely absurd and meritless and was filed in retaliation by a disgruntled ex-manager,” Marty Singer said of the complaint at the time. “I fully expect that the claims will be adjudicated before the California labor commissioner, and my client will prevail in this matter.”
Seven Summits’ lawyer Bryan Freedman told Deadline in response, “Every actor or actress who hires Marty Singer when they get a letter from a manager requesting to be paid commissions rightfully owed makes a ridiculous claim of illegal procurement to try and gain false leverage. That this is an actress who had an agent throughout her career at CAA or UTA and she never thought about filing a labor board claim for procurement without the Bill Cosby/Marty Singer strategy of accusing the victim. Don’t thumb your nose at those who have helped you become famous, or it may get cut off. I don’t understand why these people just forget the people that made their careers. That strategy will unfortunately result in a huge legal bill to let the public know that she stiffs her representatives. Not a smart legal or publicity strategy.”
With Singer at the helm, the case was settled in 2018.
Singer represented Ricky Martin in 2022 when the Puerto Rican artist was hit with allegations that he had engaged in a sexual relationship with his 21-year-old nephew, who said the relationship ended with Martin harassing and abusing him. In a statement to Variety, Singer insisted that the crooner had “never been — and would never be — involved in any kind of sexual or romantic relationship with his nephew.” Singer’s statement came less than a month after the “Livin’ la Vida Loca” hitmaker denied “completely false allegations” related to a restraining order filed anonymously against him in Puerto Rico.
“Unfortunately, the person who made this claim is struggling with deep mental health challenges,” Singer's statement continued. “The idea is not only untrue, it is disgusting. We all hope that this man gets the help he so urgently needs. But, most of all, we look forward to this awful case being dismissed as soon as a judge gets to look at the facts.”
Weeks later, Martin’s nephew withdrew his claims, just one day before Martin’s two-night stand at the Hollywood Bowl, where fans expressed their support. But more than a month after the Latin pop star said he needed time to heal from the ordeal, he filed a lawsuit seeking $20 million in damages, alleging that he had been “persecuted, besieged, harassed, stalked and extorted by a maladjusted person.”
In 2022, on Hulu's premiere of "The Kardashians," Kardashian was taken aback when her son Saint came across a Roblox ad that featured his mom's crying face. When she took a closer look, the ad promised "unreleased footage" of the reality star's 20-year-old sex tape with R&B singer Ray J. Luckily, Saint didn't notice that part, but Kardashian gave her attorney a call. "Our legal rights are that she could sue anyone who releases the tape," Singer is heard saying during the call. "Even if it exists, they don't have a legal right to release the tape without her consent."
Kardashian then looped another rep into the call and was heard telling her to 'have Marty scare the s— outta this guy." She then says she refuses to go through this again and that this time, she's got the right attorney and will burn them to the ground.
The Skims mogul also turned to Singer back in 2011, when Jonathan Jaxson, a man who claimed to be her former publicist, publicly accused her of staging her lavish wedding (and 72-day marriage) to Kris Humphries for publicity. He also said that the reality star “staged several of the moments the world has seen of her,” including speculation in 2007 about an engagement to football's Reggie Bush. Singer told the Hollywood Reporter at the time that Jaxson was never Kardashian’s publicist and claimed that in March 2007, “Jaxson apologized in writing to Kim for referring to himself as her publicist.”
In 2021, Singer sent a cease-and-desist letter to Instagram model Sydney Chase after she alleged that the NBA star had been sleeping with her while also dating Khloé Kardashian. Chase made a public statement saying she wouldn't "be called a liar"; Singer responded with a scathing statement obtained by Page Six.
“You claim that your statements about supposedly receiving texts from my client are true," Singer wrote. "You also were reading and quoting from those fictitious texts. You claim that those texts you allegedly received prove you had an affair with my client.
“However, notwithstanding continued requests from me and from the press to provide the texts to back up your specious accusations, you have refused to do so. .... The inescapable conclusion is that they do not exist.”
More of Singer's italicized phrases followed in the lengthy statement, as well as a threat that Chase was exposing herself to "significant liability." Chase told Page Six that she did have the alleged texts, but said "this is now a legal matter that lawyers will handle.”
That same year, Singer won Thompson a $50,000 default judgment in a libel lawsuit against a woman who said the basketball player had fathered her child. Kimberly Alexander requested that Thompson take a paternity test, which he did. The result was negative. Thompson filed his libel case shortly after the DNA test, when Alexander continued to say he was the father.
Singer contended in the suit, obtained by The Times, that Alexander had "persisted in publicly proclaiming that Thompson is her child’s father and ... maliciously accused Thompson of being a deadbeat dad, ‘neglecting’ and failing to take financial responsibility for the child since birth.”
“To quote Michael Jackson,” Singer said in the court filing, “‘the kid is not [his] son.’”
Times staff writers Amy Kaufman, Daniel Miller, Jeffrey Fleishman and Christi Carras contributed to this report.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.