Lizzo responds to accusations that she plagiarized 'Truth Hurts,' files lawsuit

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click to enlarge Lizzo during her Detroit performance on May 15. - Josh Justice
Josh Justice
Lizzo during her Detroit performance on May 15.

Since landing her 2017 sleeper hit “Truth Hurts” on the Billboard Hot 100 charts for a record-breaking seven-weeks — which is on pace to become the longest-charting No. 1 by a female rapper — Detroit-born superstar Lizzo has found herself embroiled in controversy regarding the song's opening line and the year's most viral lyric. As of this week, Lizzo has finally broken the silence. She's also filed a lawsuit against her accusers.

In a post made to her social media accounts Wednesday, Lizzo addressed multiple claims that she had plagiarized a line from “Truth Hurts.” Since 2017, three people, two of whom are a songwriting team, have come forward to claim that they came up with, “I just took a DNA test/ Turns out I'm 100% that bitch” — which Lizzo reportedly filed a trademark for in August.

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Truth Hurts... but the truth shall set you free.

A post shared by Lizzo (@lizzobeeating) on

The most recent accusation comes from Justin and Jeremiah Raisen, who allege that Lizzo ripped the line from their song “Healthy,” which they claim was penned in April 2017 during a writing session with Lizzo, Jesse St. John, and Yves Rothman at Raisen's studio. In an Instagram video posted by Justin, titled “The Truth about Truth Hurts,” he writes that he and his team reached out to Lizzo and her producer Ricky Reed and have been trying to “sort this out quietly for the last two years, asking for 5 percent each but were shut down every time.”

In her response Wednesday, Lizzo says that the lyric was inspired by a meme she saw in 2017, which she then used in a demo which would later become “Truth Hurts.”

The meme Lizzo refers to has been a part of her “Truth Hurts” story for over a year, and first came to light in February 2018 when singer Mina Lioness took to Twitter to lay claim to the line, adding that she was the creator of the meme that inspired the song and also penned a viral tweet, and she accused Lizzo of not giving proper writing credit.

She and Lioness engaged in a heated Twitter exchange, to which Lizzo replied: “Truth Hurts was written in June fyi— someone made a meme on IG that said, “I’m 100% that bitch” and we were inspired, I give that meme credit when I talk about making the song. I’ve never seen ur viral tweet but I’m glad it exists.”

According to her most recent response, Lizzo has decided to share her success with the creator of the tweet, which inspired the meme, which inspired “Truth Hurts.” Lizzo has given Lioness a writing credit. As for the Raisens? They are the subject of a newly filed lawsuit which states that they “have no right to profit from the song’s success,” according to a statement shared with Rolling Stone by Lizzo's attorney, Cynthia Arato.  

“The men who now claim a piece of ‘Truth Hurts’ did not help me write any part of the song,” Lizzo wrote in her Wednesday social media post. ”They had nothing to do with the line or how I chose to sing it. There was no one in the room when I wrote ‘Truth Hurts,’ except me, Ricky Reed and my tears.”

Earlier this week, Lizzo was hit with another accusation of copyright infringement, this time for her song “Juice” after singer CeCe Peniston posted a side-by-side song comparison between Lizzo's track and Peniston's 1992 dance hit “Finally” on Instagram. The alleged infringement appears to be focused on Peniston's “ya-ya-ee, ya-ya-ee” vocalization, to which she responded, “this is a clear example of #copyrightinfringement.”

Peniston added, “btw I love her music.”

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