Unfortunately, there are just some problems that can’t be turned into a country song! Martina McBride and her husband, John McBride, are being sued for a whopping $1 million by a former employee.
The plaintiff, Richard Hanson, was once employed at the couple’s recording company, Blackbird Studios. According to E! News, “[Hanson] claims the defendants unlawfully terminated him in an act of retaliation after he reported alleged illegal activity about the company’s internship program.”
The 51-year-old songstress has since commented on the accusations. “Blackbird Studios cooperated with the Department of Labor and they found this claim was not supported by the facts,” Martina told The Tennessean. “John and I have created a culture at Blackbird that is familial and supportive of everyone who walks through its doors.”
In documents obtained by E! News, the plaintiff ran Blackbird Studios’ unpaid internship program for five years from 2012 to 2017. He alleged that the McBrides “made it a practice to assign unpaid interns job tasks that provided little or no education or training benefits.” Such alleged tasks included cleaning the bathrooms, tearing down equipment, and running personal errands for the couple.
In addition to more menial responsibilities, Hanson claimed that some of the tasks were dangerous. “John once required two interns to visit his home in the middle of the night to see if there was an intruder. The plaintiff claims John gave a loaded gun to one of the interns, who didn’t have any firearm safety training,” the documents stated.
Beyond that, Hanson has claimed that if interns failed to complete their tasks, the McBrides would allegedly “yell at,” “scold” or “chastise” the unpaid interns. Because of his experience, Hanson is fighting for “compensatory damages” for “emotional distress, humiliation, and pain and suffering of $1,000,000.00” and/or “appropriate compensatory damages to the maximum provided under the TPPA.”