Dancers for the singer and actress are speaking out, claiming they were never compensated for their work during a video shoot.
A group of ballroom dancers hired to do choreography for Taylor’s “WTP” video claim the shoot’s talent coordinator failed to cut the check.
“In July I was contracted by Derek Auguste to dance in her video” for the song “WTP,” a dancer in the project said in an interview with Page Six.
The shoot which took place at New York’s Museum of Sex was a grueling process, according to the dancer.
“We waited for hours in the basement at the Museum of Sex,” the unnamed source said. We had to do our own makeup, bring our own costumes, and they gave us a huge box of cold pizza for the 10 of us.”
A source close to Taylor’s camp told the outlet that Taylor paid Auguste ahead of the shoot–specifically to cover payment for the dancers.
“He was contracted to hire the dancers. They were contracted through his company,” said Taylor’s mother and manager, Nikki Taylor. “We are flabbergasted that he would do anything like this. We presented the check for his services. We’re going to go ahead and recut another check to those kids because it’s not their fault.” She added of Taylor, “She would never ever do anything to disrespect them. And she is floored because she’s known [Auguste] since she was 14-, 15-years old.”
The song and the shoot intended to pay tribute to the ballroom community–a place of fortitude and creativity in the LGBTQ community, profiled in the groundbreaking documentary Paris Is Burning and most recently on the hit FX show, Pose.
“Teyana has been supportive of the community from day one. It wasn’t about the fee [for me]. I did it because I like Teyana. Derek . . . ran with our money,” said Jack Mizrahi, a ballroom historian hired to oversee the shoot.
Page Six said they reached out to Auguste but received no comment. However on social media, Auguste claimed that there was deep miscommunication.
“Unfortunately a lot of the budget was cut which made it very difficult for me to reward everyone on time as expressed,” he wrote in response to an inquiry. “A check was cut significantly lower than expected and I had to prioritize principals. I hated to do that… it truly was a very interesting experience. I learned a lot about character, consideration, honesty and sacrifice.”
Reps for Taylor issued a statement saying she reissued a check because she values her reputation in the industry.
With all the tour issues with Jeremih, it’s disheartening to see Taylor has to deal with even more drama.