Talib Kweli Accused of Sexual Harassment by Former Collaborator Res

Kweli has denied the allegations "fully and categorically" in court and online
Talib Kweli Accused of Sexual Harassment by Former Collaborator Res
Photo: Rick Clifford
Talib Kweli has been accused of sexual harassment by former collaborator Shareese Ballard (a.k.a. Res). Ballard made the allegations against the rapper, born Talib Kweli Greene, last Friday (June 1) on Twitter, revealing an ongoing legal battle between the two.

In a series of tweets last Friday, Ballard accused Greene of refusing to release a completed album of work she had delivered for the rapper's Javotti Media, adding that he had ignored attempts to resolve the dispute and had effectively taken her career "hostage."

Ballard alleged Greene's actions came a result of her rejecting his advances, sharing a screenshot of an email from 2014 that finds the rapper admitting to trying to kiss her once. Ballard added in an additional tweet that "there [are] other female artists that's ready to spill the beans" on Greene's actions.

Greene responded by sharing a screenshot of a legal document alongside a statement on Instagram yesterday (June 3), confirming the legal battle. Calling Ballard a "liar," Greene revealed she had been dropped from Javotti Media in 2013 for "for disrespecting my employees and for failing to turn in an album I invested in." He added, "I fully and categorically deny any allegation of sexual harassment."

Court documents obtained by Pitchfork show that Greene and Javotti Media sued Ballard in 2016 for breach of contract and a copyright violation. The suit claims Ballard never delivered a completed album and "continually failed to show up for obligations" after being paid over $20,000 USD in advances.

The complaint then notes Ballard had started an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to make a new record in early 2016, offering the Kweli-assisted "You Don't Know Me" as a reward for contributors. Greene claims a cease and desist letter surrounding the track's release was ignored, prompting the lawsuit.

Ballard then filed a counterclaim in September 2016, while also countersuing Greene for sexual harassment. 

"During the course of the parties' collaboration on at least two occasions, Mr. Greene made unwanted and unprovoked sexual advances toward Ms. Ballard," the counterclaim reads. "These unwanted and unprovoked sexual advances by Mr. Greene toward Ms. Ballard made Ms. Ballard feel uncomfortable and demeaned."

Ballard's counterclaim was dismissed by Judge Carolyn Wade, who ruled that "the elements are not sufficiently pled." 

Pitchfork also notes that Greene's lawyers filed documents to enforce a settlement agreement between the two parties last month, which could require Ballard to pay $12,000 USD and cease distribution of "You Don't Know Me."

"Res has not accepted this outcome so she is using smear tactics," Kweli wrote on Instagram in reference to the 2016 case dismissal. "Recently, she fired her lawyer in the other case, the one where she profited off of my music without my permission. So now she is trying to use the #metoo movement to bully me into dropping my lawsuit against her."

When contacted by Pitchfork for comment, Ballard told the site the following:

Unfortunately, Talib is unable to give an accurate account of what has happened in this situation. In my opinion he is extremely emotional and it has impaired his memory at times. He is clearly using his platform to bark loud and let loose any and every twist and turn to steer attention and support his way." She went on, "To be sued at this point is ridiculous and not warranted. He is crafting a story all on his own alongside retweets with people that neither of us have a relationship with beyond a follow on social media, if that. It is all quite sad. I am regretful of ever signing to Javotti Media.

Kweli last delivered his Radio Silence LP in 2017. He's also rumoured to have been at work on a new Black Star album.

UPDATE (6/5, 2:30 p.m. EDT): Kweli has now released the following statement regarding the allegations:

Res was dropped from my label Javotti Media in 2013 for disrespecting my employees and for failing to turn in an album I invested in. I am not holding her music because she never turned any music in, at all. In early 2014 Res started an IndieGogo campaign and sent a song featuring my vocals to fans without my permission as a reward. I asked her to stop using my verse, and she refused, so I sued her. Res then countersued saying that I sexually harassed her. I find her claim to be dubious in nature. Bogus.
 
Over a year ago, the judge in the case, Honorable Carolyn E. Wade, dismissed Res' 3 claims against me, including the sexual harassment claim, NYSCEF doc number 37. Res has not accepted this outcome, so she is using smear tactics. Recently, she fired her lawyer in the other case, the one where she profited off of my music without my permission. So, now she is trying to use the #metoo movement to bully me into dropping my lawsuit against her. I fully and categorically deny any allegation of sexual harassment.