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Thriller actress goes legal again as 3D version of the video premieres

By | Published on Monday 11 September 2017

Michael Jackson

If you were worried that the recent conclusion of the Quincy Jones lawsuit against the Michael Jackson Estate meant we were no longer up to the required quota of litigation relating to the late king of pop, worry not. The actor who played the singer’s girlfriend in the ‘Thriller’ video has gone legal again. Thank fuck for that.

Ola Ray previously sued Jackson just before his untimely death in 2009, claiming that she had been promised a cut of the royalties generated by the iconic music-video-come-short-film, and that said cut of the cash had never materialised. A settlement with the Jackson Estate then followed in 2012, reportedly worth $75,000

Ray seemingly claims that she was promised a 2.5% cut of any royalties earned by the ‘Thriller’ video, but to date she has only been paid $200,000. In a recent interview with the Daily Mail, Ray said she was so excited about appearing in the ‘Thriller’ short that “I probably would have done it for nothing”, but that nevertheless: “Michael gave me a contract”.

It seems Ray is going legal again, despite the 2012 settlement, because the long mooted 3D version of ‘Thriller’ has now been premiered at the Venice Film Festival. Director John Landis revealed he was planning the rework back in 2014, after settling his own legal action with the Jackson Estate in relation to royalties generated by the video.

Ray says she wasn’t consulted about the 3D version of the ‘Thriller’ short. She told reporters: “I’m outraged, upset and in shock. When I heard rumours about a possible 3D version, I contacted the director and said ‘we need to talk about this’. But he never responded to my email. They haven’t tried to contact me or negotiate anything. How do they think they can just do this without paying me?”

The actor’s lawyer Scott Cole added: “Ms Ray had a central role in this iconic production. Shutting her out of her full royalties all these years hardly honours the memory of Michael or the spirit of the relevant contracts”.