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Confessions of a Bad, Ugly Singer

Yep. This really happened.

Robyn, you really should read the actual case and report on it all over again.

So I notice that one of my entries is being read quite a bit. That is my analysis of Robyn P from Death and Taxes (too lazy to spell the last name correctly). So if you are reading that analysis, or you are Robyn, I hope you can appreciate my present day perspective.

Years ago, when all of this was fresh I tried my best to have a sense of humor about the insane media bullying I was experiencing. Women were constantly berated on such a massive scale that I had grown numb to it.

Times have changed and the NY Post fake “singer sued for being too old and too ugly” gimmick simply would not happen today. It wouldn’t be tolerated. So I am challenging any reporter to read the 112 page document and cover it *for real*. I don’t want my story swept under the rug, I want it rectified and corrected to reflect what really happened.

Robyn mentioned she thought I wasn’t very good. While she is entitled to her opinion, the fact that she posted a video of another P!NK cover band from another country, with a backup singer that looks and sounds absolutely nothing like me and passed it off as saying she “thought” it was me- well, that is some sloppy journalism!!! It shows she didn’t really take the time to research me properly. And unfortunately, she ended up contributing to the culture of cruelty while rushing to make a deadline and be sassy and entertaining.

I hate that it still bothers me 7 years later- but it does. Life for the most part has moved on- but occasionally I shut down and my mind goes back. I never quite fully got my love for music back after this event. It was just so cruel. The absolute level of mass bullying I experienced in a single event is absolutely mind blowing.

I have access to a full studio and I don’t want to touch it. I almost feel as if making music will lead to me being bullied on a mass scale like this again. It sucks to feel this way.

I’ve noticed that a bunch of media outlets took their articles down quietly, especially after my book came out. That’s a start, but I really want the people who participated in this story to continue the conversation. I know if I ever publicly wrote a story about someone on the internet that wasn’t true, I would want to be sure to retract my story and apologize. Loudly.

Robyn, your move.

A quick hello

Just want to say hello and I am shocked that people still read this blog, but here you are! I’ve often thought about taking down this blog as the sheer trauma and torment I was in then no longer represents where I’m at.

I noticed that many of the posts concerning the journalists who covered the fake P!NK Tributegate articles about me are getting views. If you are one of those journalists, welcome. Rereading these entries, I am shocked at how polite I was about the whole thing, when I didn’t really need to be. What y’all collectively did was fucked up and not okay at all and it’s amazing I am still here. But you already knew that. That being said:

You are welcome to apologize any time.

I hope you are fact checking these days and not relying soley on the newswire.

I hope you are not still engaging in shaming culture in your work.

You are welcome to tell your side of the story here any time.

I notice quite a few media outlets took their story down. That’s a good start, but we are not sweeping this under the rug.

That’s about it folks. Maybe I’ll start writing here again.

Wake Up America! It’s been said before, so I’ll say it in a song.

First of all, in the words of Adele, “Hello..it’s me”.

It’s been a while. I am completely blown away that people STILL read this blog despite going dormant for so long. Thank you for that. Sometimes I wrestle with taking this blog down. I was in such a different place when I showed up to the pages of WordPress everyday to work out my issues and demons-while navigating an industry powered on misogyny as a default setting. Times have changed, demons have been slayed. My desire to be an active member of the music industry has fluctuated considerably over the last few years, but there is something to be said for finishing what you started.

Hell has frozen over. I actually managed to squeeze out a song from the long dormant “42” album. With everything I have experienced in the music industry… the blatant ageism, the sexism, the lawsuit abuse, media defamation etc, it is a miracle this ever came out! To be frank I had several years where I couldn’t even *listen to music alone in my own home by myself* because I was so shocked and disgusted by the industry itself, but I digress.

Wake Up America, the song, has a long backstory… I wrote it with edibleRed years ago. Having a backstage pass to the mainstream media, I always felt that America was under a spell of sorts… one that led people to value money over humanity and basic dignity. This being said, the issues of that time were so tame compared to today. Donald Trump was merely an annoying reality show host and I miss those days. edibleRed demoed a version of the song that was never released. To be honest, I wish I could have put it out with edibleRed, but life took us in so many directions.

When I was sucked into the legal system in 2013-2015, I updated some of the lyrics to reflect on my situation with mainstream media and the legal system. I shelved the “42” recordings after I had one of my “last straw” moments in the music industry while filming a music video in Stockholm, Sweden . Years of non stop sexism led to me putting the album on pause. I just couldn’t take it anymore.

Then came Corona virus.

In the worst of times, there can sometimes be hidden blessings and silver linings. It doesn’t make the situation any less tragic, but beauty can be found in some of our most painful moments. I left New York City after 26 years to come home and be with my family. Corona blew the winds of change into my life as I moved back into my childhood bedroom. Shortly after, my father passed at the age of 86. I’ll always be grateful that I got to spend that last month with him.

I had transitioned into an event planning career (one of the few things I loved as much as performing), but we all know how that turned out. The career I planned on transitioning into evaporated overnight. This left me alone with my thoughts… and my music. Without the insane price tag of New York City rent, I was actually free to dust off some of the “42′ tracks and get back into the studio… well, kind of.

I reached out to Jonathan Vergara of Pancake Studios with fingers crossed to see if he still had the tracks we worked on back in 2015. I was emotionally prepared to be met with the news that the tracks we slaved over in 2015 were gone forever (I was notoriously bad at backing my files up back then). To my surprise (and probably his as well) he had them! We have been working remotely since last April. So far we have finished three songs. I decided to put one out and see what happens. This is that song.

So If you like it, I have one wish…share it!If you have made it this far, thanks for reading and listening….

https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/3iwDbbmkEXOWLeI1N6t1EK

Dear Andrew Cuomo, I know got a lot going on right now, but let’s fix the legal system already. (In support of S.52a)

August 18, 2020

Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo Governor of New York State NYS Capitol Building Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo:

My name is Collette McLafferty. I am writing to respectfully request you sign S.52A into law. The bill requires awarding of costs and attorney fees in frivolous actions involving public petition and participation. If signed into law, this bill will provide a powerful deterrent to the filing of malicious strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPP suits. As a victim of lawsuit abuse myself, I support this legislation and commend the legislature for passing it. 

I know first-hand how the civil justice system can be used as a tool of harassment. I enjoyed a 20-year professional singing career in New York City until a broken legal system brought it to a screeching halt.

In 2014, a complete stranger served me with a 112- page $10,000.00 lawsuit. The plaintiff was Charles Bonfante, an attorney and drummer who sought revenge against a former band mate who hired me. Even though he never met me, he painted me as a co-conspirator to fraud, referred to me as a “lousy singer” and “unattractive” in legal writing and asked the courts to ban me from performing in any P!NK Tribute Act for life-even though he had no control of the copyright. I was within my legal rights to perform this music, but Mr. Bonfante felt it was appropriate to flex his privileges as a lawyer to strip me of said rights through legal and financial harassment.

The media focused on his opinion of my looks, which led the headline “Singer Sued for Being Too Old and Too Ugly for P!NK Cover Band” going viral worldwide. Essentially, the legal system enabled this stranger to hijack my life, career and identity through malicious litigation. It took two years to get this case dismissed, resulting in a $15,000 legal bill. I gave up my Manhattan apartment- my home for over a decade- to cover my initial legal fees. I stopped singing for years. The very activity that brought me joy and purpose for decades became a source of severe mental and emotional pain thanks to this broken system.

The Supreme Court of Riverhead issued no sanctions against Bonfante. By failing to do so, I feel the system was complicit to these abusive practices. There was no deterrent to Mr. Bonfante’s behavior, as he likely knew the system would not punish him. I met Mr. Bonfante for the first time two years after he filed his bogus lawsuit. He went back to his practice, while I looked for work in a new field. The love for music that inspired me to move to New York City- and

contribute to the famous arts and culture-died. I couldn’t even listen to music in my home for years.

No one should be forced to go through what I did. The civil justice system should serve and protect and should not be a tool for harassment. If S.25A is signed into law, abusive litigants will think twice about filing meritless claims, and courts will award costs and fees to the victims of these spiteful actions. Previously, I have worked with the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York to support legislation to ensure defendants are properly reimbursed and vexatious litigants are penalized. I am encouraged that lawmakers are now taking an interest in cracking down on lawsuit abuse.

New York should be a leader in protecting the citizenry from lawsuits intended to silence our voices – be it me, expressing myself artistically, or the voices of countless others exercising their freedoms of speech and expression. And given this time of economic hardship for the people of New York, it is crucial to shield individuals from bad faith actors seeking opportunities to cause additional mental and financial strain. Please sign S.25A into law.

Respectfully,

Collette McLafferty

P!NK Tributegate covered in The Epoch Times!!

While the battle is long over, the scars are still fading. The conversation is long overdue and change in the legal system (and how the media reports on it) is essential.

BD9DB802-04AA-483B-A09F-01E018BCE398.jpeg

Much thanks to reporter Kevin Hogan for treating my story with respect. On the cover of The Epoch Times story is me with the cover of The New York Post.

I wanted to bring attention to The Epoch Times use of the New York Post photo of me… also taken by Byron Smith…who was hired to take a photograph to suit the needs of the N.Y. Post and how they wanted to spin the story. The Epoch Times’ use of The NY Post image is protected under fair use.

Just as the images in Confessions of a Bad, Ugly Singer are also protected.

I just felt this was important to point out. This is my experience. My story. I’ll only stop speaking out when I want to… not because of anyone who wants to silence me or silence any portion of my experience.

Kevin did a great job with this article and I’m honored I got to be a part of such an important conversation!

https://m.theepochtimes.com/lawsuit-abuse-a-growing-costly-problem_3171850.html

Please welcome New York Post photographer to “Confessions of a Bad, Ugly Singer” !!! We’ve made it, fam.

Hello to all of three people who have read this long, forgotten blog that went from fairly obscure to really, really obscure in the past couple years. We have a fourth reader.

That fourth reader is New York Post photographer Byron Smith!! I’m frankly a little flattered. I won’t show you his photo because he has implied he doesn’t like that too much.

Fair enough. I’m a reasonable person so I took the photo of him down. He requested that I take the photo of me in the purple dress down, than added that he has been awarded up to $20,000 in the past for copyright infringement.

WordPress wrote to me , however, and stated that they believe it falls under fair use. I believe WordPress on the matter, so I am keeping the photo of me up. Upon sharing the correspondence to many media, photography and legal professionals this morning I have been told that my use of this photo is a “textbook definition” of fair use:

“Under Sections 106, 106A, and 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, the Fair Use Clause of the Act permits the use of excerpts from news outlets, books, periodicals, live musical performances, blogs, social media, and public figures, and is protected by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

“Allowance for fair use is made for purposes such as criticism, comment, comparison, satire/parody, news reporting, teaching, social/political/scientific awareness, scholarship, or research in which no copyright is intended or claimed by Confessions of a Bad, Ugly Singer.

NON-PROFIT, EDUCATIONAL OR PERSONAL USE TIPS THE BALANCE IN FAVOR OF FAIR USE.”

The truth is Byron Smith’s photo of me is paramount to telling my story. It is essential.  He took dozens of photos of me in different outfits yet knew that he had “the one” when he had me pose on the stairs. For this reason, I believe he was acting in concert with the paper to craft the fictitious story of the girl who got sued for being “old and ugly”.  It was 2014 at the time, this is just how women were treated on a daily basis by the media. Times are different now, but there is still a bit of a cultural hangover from those mid evil times, so it’s a story worth telling.

The treatment of my story falls under a vast umbrella: the constant non stop shaming of women in the media (Especially those who dare to sing over the age of 35) for simply existing. I believe that if my lawsuit had happened today in 2019, The NY Post would not have written the same story. I believe the story would have revolved around the two men, as it did in real life. I believe Byron would have treated me respectfully as a subject in 2019.

Byron Smith’s photo is essential to tell the full story.

Through telling my story honestly I seek to 1) criticize 2) comment 3) compare 4) teach 5) contribute to social awareness and detail why the birth of body positivity, age positivity and looks acceptance are so crucial to society.

I would like to invite Byron to share his own perspective on the matter publicly here on Confessions of a Bad, Ugly Singer. One of the things that kept me from going over the edge from the depression I endured at the hands of the lawsuit and The NY Post was this blog. Writing saved my life. All I could do was be honest about my story.

I would also like to invite Byron to contact the NY Post to take the four stories they wrote about me down and take the “purple dress photo” off their website. Yes the photos he took that had the caption “too old and ugly gal”, along with my full name under the photo… If that happens, I will take my photo down and we will call it a day.

I would like to invite the New York Post to write the REAL story regarding P!NK Tribute Gate and erase the old one. I would like to invite Byron Smith over to take a real photo of me that isn’t meant to serve a sensationalized and false headline.

You guys can do it, I have faith in you. Also, the last person who ended up threatening me with legal action when they had no grounds ended up paying $15,000 out of pocket because he wasted my time. Please don’t be like that guy.

I don’t really settle things quietly when I am within my legal rights, so I hope Byron will accept my challenge. Thanks for reading!

“Between Two Jobs” Podcast with Adam P Murphy!

Recently, I had the pleasure of joining Adam P Murphy on his podcast “Between Two Jobs” talking about the valleys between the peaks when working as a creative professional.

In my case we discuss the lawsuit, tabloid media and the crazy events that put my life on hold back in 2014. And of course, we talk about “Confession of a Bad, Ugly Singer”, the book! (As opposed to this years old blog that somehow y’all are still finding. I first met Adam when he was doing a show at the Parkside Lounge and then later reconnected with him in the film “Return To Nuke Em High”.

Even cooler, if you go to his podcast and check out the episode before mine, he interviews one of the guys from Celebrity Death Match!!!

First chapter of “Confessions of a Bad, Ugly Singer” is available to read for free at Vocal.media!

Hey guys, it’s been a minute since I’ve check in on the blog. Enjoying my summer. I’ll be working on a second edition of the book sometimes this year. Until then, here is a free chapter of the first edition! I’m also over on Quora a lot these days.

https://criminal.media/confessions-of-a-bad-ugly-singer

If you have the book and you have constructive feedback I am all ears!

 

 

Peace,

Collette

“Confessions of a Bad, Ugly Singer” the book turns one years old!

Greetings and salutations! I haven’t been on this blog for a hot minute. I feel it might make sense to eventually create content here at some point.

It’s a little crazy seeing some of these old posts. I was non stop stressed out for two years with the lawsuit and media… I had kind of lost my mind. Ok, not kind of… I flat out lost my shit. But I’m OK with that. Anyone in my position would have done the same.

I haven’t posted a whole lot because I have been without a laptop for almost a year! I was glued to my laptop during litigation so I’m cool with that. Maybe it’s time to get a computer again.

It’s been pretty crazy wrapping my head around being a published author. “Confessions of a Bad, Ugly Singer” the book is now a year old! Now that I have some distance from it, I see so many things I want to change. My mom likes to point out I repeat myself a lot. From a literary standpoint, I know the book can be better. There is absolutely an option to work on a second edition. I’m torn between promoting the one that is out now and taking a step back to make it tighter.

Its funny hearing little tidbits from readers. Many people agree that the silence of the P!NK camp is a little shocking. I’m glad it’s not just me! I can’t escape P!NK… she is everywhere!

One thing is for certain. I came out the other side. Sometimes it felt as if I never would. I sent a book to Carey Hart. It was rejected and sent back to Amazon. I also sent one to Roger Davies Management, P!NK’s mom and Eva Gardner. I believe in my heart if they really knew how serious all this was, somebody would say something.

The book that was sent to P!NK’s mom was forwarded a couple times and ended up in Sarasota.

A coworker of mine who is an astrologist did a read on my chart. Apparently it was in the cards for me to experience an “extreme loss of identity”. She showed me some crazy shit on a website that detailed that it would be a scary transition, but Ok once I landed.

There were so many times I wondered if P!NK Tributegate had any meaning at all… or if it was just a random event to live on from. She assured me that it does indeed have meaning, will tie into my life’s work and will evolve in a more positive ways ahead. She said my story arc is about half way over.

Collette’s Law is back to the drawing board. Luis Sepulveda is now in the Senate and we weren’t able to get past the Trial Lawyers’ Lobby… so I am figuring out how to revisit my advocacy work. It would have been huge had it passed. What matters is I tried and took a stand.

My book was pitched to Ian Anderson at the New York Post. Ian’s response after reading the back cover: You realize I work at The New York Post right? Classic.

For the first time in my life I have not sang very much. I miss it. The book took so much focus, I took a long break. I decided to just focus on getting inspired again.

I still live in New York City. I still want to go to Austin or Nashville or Knoxville but I still feel there is unfinished business here!

That’s it in a nutshell. Thank you to everyone who got the book!

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