MANILA — The camp of Nadine Lustre on Tuesday accused Viva Artists Agency (VAA) of "taking advantage of young artists," in response to the entertainment giant's threat of legal action against the actress over her departure from its ranks.
Lustre, through her legal counsel, Atty. Lorna Kapunan, said they 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."
"It's about time that a David strikes out a Goliath that has taken advantage of young artists in the industry for the longest time," Kapunan added.
VAA is part of the larger Viva Entertainment group, which also produces films (Viva Films) and concerts (Viva Live), among other showbiz ventures.
Its famous discoveries or current contract talents include the likes of Sarah Geronimo, Anne Curtis, Bela Padilla, Cristine Reyes, Yam Concepcion, Xian Lim, and Matteo Guidicelli.
VAA was also home to actor James Reid, Lustre's former boyfriend who had left the agency in late 2019.
Lustre, 26, made her showbiz breakthrough via the Viva Films romance flick "Diary ng Panget" in 2014. She, however, has been a ward of Viva Entertainment as early as 2009, when she was launched as part of the sing-and-dance group Pop Girls.
Her successful foray in acting and music earned her the "Multimedia Princess" title, as she was dubbed by Viva. As recently as 2019, her big-screen projects under Viva earned her successive best actress wins, cementing her status as an acclaimed performer.
Without yet detailing any reason, Lustre's camp on Monday announced that she has "decided to terminate" her VAA contract, and that she is currently "self-managed."
VAA contradicted this, saying the actress remains its "exclusive artist," and that "any dealings or professional engagements entered into by Nadine, without the consent or approval of Viva constitutes breach of contract."
"Viva shall initiate appropriate legal action against Nadine and/or third parties that directly deal with Nadine in contravention of Viva's management contract," it said.
According to Kapunan on Tuesday, Lustre's camp had sent letters to VAA, but did not receive any response. Instead, they "chose to wait in ambush to malign Nadine and harass third parties dealing with her in good faith," Kapunan said.
"This is wrongful and malicious contract interference by Viva actionable in law for damages," she said.