NYP Lawsuit: Osnes Says She Was Never Terminated From CRAZY FOR YOU & Withdrew Before Rehearsals Ever Began

The lawsuit alleges key details of the Page Six article could have never happened and offers supporting evidence - including communications with co-star Tony Yazbeck.

By: Sep. 19, 2022
NYP Lawsuit: Osnes Says She Was Never Terminated From CRAZY FOR YOU & Withdrew Before Rehearsals Ever Began

BroadwayWorld has obtained a copy of the lawsuit in which Laura Osnes accuses the New York Post of defamation with respect to an article they published on August 12, 2021. The article, written by Ian Mohr and Oli Coleman, stated that Osnes was fired from a benefit performance of Crazy For You at Guild Hall because she was unvaccinated.

Exactly a calendar year later-the statute of limitations for defamation In New York is one year-Osnes filed a suit against The New York Post. In the lawsuit, Osnes denies she was fired from CRAZY FOR YOU and otherwise denies the narrative set forth in The New York Post article. In new details provided for the first time via the lawsuit, Osnes offers her version of events, including providing quotes from emails that the suit alleges were exchanged between her and the production's director, Susan Stroman, as well as her co-star Tony Yazbeck.

In the lawsuit, Osnes calls the Page Six article in the New York Post false 'in virtually all respects.' The suit takes particular issue with the narrative regarding how Osnes disclosed her vaccination status. The article originally contained the following sentence: "And we're told that when production asked Osnes about her vaccine status, she replied 'vaguely.'" (That sentence was later removed.) The New York Post article also stated that Yazbeck "pressed her about" her vaccination status before she revealed it.

Around the time of the article's publication, the US was still in the middle of a COVID-19 crisis, with vaccination mandates 'sweeping the country.' The week of the article's publication, an average of roughly 125,800 coronavirus cases had been reported each day in the United States, and the number of new deaths reported was up by 92 percent, to an average of 616 deaths per day.

The lawsuit claims Guild Hall's policy at the time Osnes agreed to participate in the benefit was to allow performers to perform "so long as they took a COVID test." However, the lawsuit claims that before the first rehearsal, on June 30th, 2021, Stroman wrote to Osnes stating: "The Guild is requiring everyone to show their vaccination card. You have to be vaccinated to work at Guild Hall. They might move our evening inside rather than outside in the garden. I am sorry I did not think to ask at the beginning - I did not know their protocol at the time. I am sending a private email to everyone I have performing over those three days to ask about their vaccination status. Let me know asap. I will still love you no matter what! Have a beautiful day. Thanks."

According to the lawsuit, that same day, Osnes wrote back to Stroman advising her she would have to withdraw. The lawsuit alleges Osnes' response email read: "I so appreciate this respectful email and totally understand! I know it has become a very controversial subject and I'm in the minority within our NYC community [...] but I am not currently vaccinated. May end up doing so down the line, but for the moment, Nate and I have decided to wait til we know a bit more. With the variants and resurgence, I get why Guild Hall is requiring it yet I'm very bummed to have to lose this particular gig for that reason. I was looking forward to playing with you and Tony again in the Hamptons! Hopefully they can transfer the hotel room to someone else."

The lawsuit goes on to allege that Stroman wrote back to her, stating: "Oh Laura, I am bummed too. But, respect your decision. Thanks for letting me know. You know I love you and we will be together someday again!"

The lawsuit further alleges Osnes was also in communication with Yazbeck, but not specifically about her vaccine status. According to the lawsuit, Yazbeck wrote Osnes on August 4, 2021, stating: "Just heard from Stro [...] you won't be with us in the Hamptons. Hope you guys are hanging in there!"

Following the publication of the Page Six article, the lawsuit alleges that Osnes was "exposed to hatred, ridicule and contempt."

The lawsuit alleges that the New York Post made changes in the days following the article's publication, but "did nothing to alter the overall defamatory nature of the article."

The lawsuit alleges five key points of the lawsuit were false and defamatory: that Osnes was fired for refusing to be vaccinated for COVID-19, that the theater told Page Six all staff and performers must be vaccinated, that Osnes answered vaguely in response to being asked her vaccination status, that she only revealed her vaccination status after being pressed by Tony Yazbeck, and that according to spies she immediately 'got the hook' and was replaced by Sierra Boggess.

The day after the article was published, the lawsuit alleges that Yazbeck wrote to Osnes, saying: "It breaks my heart to see how this whole thing went down in the media. It was a total surprise to me. People look to create drama any way they can it seems. I'm sending you love and wish you only the best[.]"

Stroman also wrote to Osnes that day, writing: "I am so sorry the article was written. I don't know how it happened. The change was done without any fanfare. This is a fundraiser and like any fundraiser - cast changes happen all the time. Please know that I think you are an exceptional person and I think the world of your talent."

The lawsuit alleges: "As a direct result of the Page Six article at issue, Ms. Osnes lost the opportunity to appear in several productions in which she was slated to perform, including a London production of Bonnie and Clyde. Ms. Osnes also lost her role on a multi-city concert tour that she cocreated, and has since been completely removed from the website and not allowed to perform or be publicly associated with the production. Faced with a devasting blow of personal and professional backlash, plus a dramatic reduction in performance opportunities in New York, Osnes and her husband relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, in pursuit of safety and other potential musical career opportunities." (The concert tour is the tour of Disney Princess: The Concert - an officially sanctioned by Disney version of the 'Broadway Princess Party.') The lawsuit also claims emotional distress.

Under New York State law, Defendants NYP Holdings, Inc., d/b/a New York Post, and New York Post columnists, Ian Mohr and Oli Coleman, have the opportunity to answer the complaint or move for its dismissal.

BroadwayWorld will continue to follow this story.


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