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Former manager for R&B group TLC sues Viacom for defamation over her portrayal in biopic

A man leaves Viacom headquarters, in New York on Aug. 13, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Mark Lennihan

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A man leaves Viacom headquarters, in New York on Aug. 13, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Mark Lennihan

ATLANTA - The former manager of TLC is suing Viacom for defamation, saying the biopic on the Grammy-winning R&B group made her seem like "an unethical and dishonest businesswoman."

Perri "Pebbles" Reid accuses Viacom International Inc. and Viacom Inc. of making multiple false and defamatory statements about her in "Crazysexycool: The TLC Story" The movie premiered in October on VH1, which is owned and controlled by Viacom.

The lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in Atlanta seeks $10 million in compensatory damages and $30 million in punitive damages. It also asks a judge to force Viacom to retract the movie and promotional materials and to block further publication of the movie and promotional materials.

A spokesman for Viacom did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment Monday.

TLC was made up of Rozanda "Chilli" Thomas, Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes. The two-hour movie chronicles their rise to fame, their drama-filled love lives — including Left Eye burning down the house of lover and former NFL player Andre Rison — group spats and financial struggles, despite two multiplatinum albums.

"The movie told a story of Ms. Reid as a conniving and dishonest businesswoman who hoodwinked three innocent girls and exploited their talent for her own personal gain and in the process negatively influenced their personal lives and deprived them of fair compensation," the lawsuit says.

That is false, the lawsuit says, arguing that Reid never controlled the group's attorneys or accountants, never withheld the terms of a contract from the group and always paid the members of TLC what they were owed.

The film has damaged Reid's reputation as a businesswoman and entertainer, the lawsuit says, adding that "Viacom abandoned journalistic and literary integrity and ignored fundamental canons of journalistic and literary conduct by publishing false and defamatory accusations with actual malice."

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