Lawyers for Lil Peep’s mother filed a 372-page document to support their claim that First Access Entertainment “managed the tour as a fatal debauch” in their wrongful death lawsuit.
“This is the most mortifying experience of my life,” Lil Peep’s tour manager Belinda Mercer texted a colleague in late October 2017. Authorities at the Canadian border found prohibited narcotics in Mercer’s bag and aboard Peep’s tour bus; the vehicle had continued on to its next stop in Toronto without her. Mercer said, “I really want to die.” It’s “OMG.”
Unsealed documents in the Lil Peep wrongful death lawsuit reveal “dangerous, discordant, and inept” tour management “that contributed to [Peep]’s death,” the mother of the late rapper argues https://t.co/x7m88gXK7z
— Pitchfork (@pitchfork) February 10, 2022
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On January 28, lawyers representing Peep’s mother, Liza Womack, filed a 372-page compendium of evidence, including Mercer’s text messages and a transcript of a deposition she gave in September 2021, in her lawsuit over the death of her 21-year-old son. After the incident at the Canadian border, Gustav hr, better known as Peep, died of a heroin overdose on November 15, 2017. Prior to a hearing scheduled for February 10, Pitchfork discovered evidence via online records that might have been used by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to decide the case’s core without going to a jury for a trial. )
At a hearing on February 10, a court document stated that the court “will require further time to evaluate the different papers in this case.” The date for a fresh hearing has not yet been set.) According to some legal experts, this lawsuit could have a significant impact on the music industry’s stance on drugs. A judge sealed seven pages of records in October 2021 after lawyers for Peep’s management business First Access Entertainment (FAE) and Mercer argued that the documents contained private or self-incriminating information.
“These seven pages help tell the story of the drug-infected mismanagement that is part of [Womack’s] key narrative and led to the death of her kid,” stated Womack’s attorneys in response to the evidence. These documents largely contain discussions that depict FAE tour management as unsafe, dissonant, inept, and involved in behavior that contributed to [Peepdeath, ]’s they claimed.
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge concluded last month that the contested records “do not deserve sealing” except for a few brief redactions. The following is a synopsis of the new information contained in the seven pages in dispute and the accompanying 372-page file. Rolling Stone’s David Peisner previously reported on Belinda Mercer’s October 25, 2017, Canadian border stop. Nonetheless, her deposition testimony that drugs were found in the bag hasn’t been made public yet.
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Messages between Womack and her First Access Entertainment coworkers demonstrate that they “mishandled the tour, including by functioning as the tour drug dealer,” Womack’s lawyers alleged last November. An attorney for Womack tells Pitchfork, “The tenacity with which FAE and Mercer battled to protect this information from the public record speaks loudly as to the inculpatory nature of these text exchanges.”
On September 25, 2017, a week before Peep’s final U.S. tour began, he sent a series of text messages. A tour bus was discussed by Mercer and Daisy Quin, an FAE employee, as an alternative to a van on past tours. Quin confessed, “I am literally lost,” in an email. Mercer said, “I don’t know how this is going to happen.” he wrote. There is “a proper mess,” Quin wrote, referring to FAE CEO Sarah Stennett by name.
As Mercer’s tour manager in Europe, Peep’s Stephen Paul assisted in the band’s travel arrangements. Quin and Mercer were said to have slammed Paul’s suitability for the position in September 2017, according to the texts. Quin further hinted that Paul’s promotion was influenced by his relationship to “someone extremely important at FAE,” a relative who was “quite influential at FAE.” This is “absolutely” first access, Quin wrote. Quin claimed that “Sarah” was “up at 4 am yelling down the phone” because of her “poor” personnel, which appears to be a reference to CEO Stennett.
Mercer apologized to her colleagues several hours after she was detained at the Canadian border. Mercer replied in a WhatsApp message: “The bottom line is that I am really sorry and humiliated about it all.” He said, “It was a terrible error, and I hope it never happens again.” She didn’t go into any further detail about the mistake.
Mercer, in her September 2021 deposition, stated that “they found narcotics on the bus and some were in [her] suitcase” as a factor in why she was arrested at the Canadian border and others were not. She emphasized earlier that she meant “illegal substances” when she talked about “substances,” and she testified that the drugs weren’t just in her suitcase; they were found throughout the bus.” While Mercer claimed to have paid a $2,000 fine, the transcript excerpts reveal that she did not explain why. Previously, Rolling Stone had stated that Quin had said she was aware of the fine.
— charlotte (@GETCAKEDlEYOUNG) June 7, 2022
According to Rolling Stone, Mercer was distributing and taking ketamine while on tour. Peep allegedly requested medicines from Mercer up to 100 times in her deposition testimony from September 2021, according to a newly released court document. In a text exchange with Peep on October 22, 2017, she confirmed that “ket,” which they had discussed, was “ketamine.” Additionally, Mercer frequently cited her Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination when asked about illegal narcotics.
Mercer made two Venmo payments to Riley Fitch on November 6, 2017, according to court filings, and she used her Fifth Amendment privilege rather than explain the payments. According to the memoranda, however, Fatch was not employed by her or a member of the tour staff, and she confirmed this. During her testimony, she said, “Venmo, at the time, required you to provide a cause.” “Other than that,” says the narrator, “I’m stumped.” Following his death, federal narcotics charges against Patch were dismissed.
Defense counsel argued, “Mercer testified that Peep’s U.S. tour was in a chaotic and ultimately fatal state.”
Mercer’s co-tour manager Stephen Paul, Peep’s previous tour manager Sherwin Shapouri, Peep’s former production tech Brian Ledet, Peep’s former manager Bryant “Chase” Ortega, and FAE CEO Sarah Stennett have all provided deposition excerpts and other evidence in the document dated January 28.
Womack’s lawsuit, which was originally filed in 2019, accuses First Access Entertainment, Mercer, FAE CEO Sarah Stennett, and former manager Bryant “Chase” Ortega of wrongful death, negligence, and breach of contract.
The FAE lawyers said that Peep’s contract with them exempted them from liability for alleged fraud and carelessness, and Womack cannot prove that their alleged negligence caused Peep’s death in their request for summary judgment filed on July 23, 2021. In support of FAE’s motion, Mercer and Ortega joined in.
During an opposition brief filed on September 23, 2021, Womack’s attorneys argued that the matter should be tried in front of a jury. That Peep’s FAE arrangement doesn’t cover the alleged negligence and that what caused Peep’s death goes beyond who administered the lethal medications was their argument. They wrote that Womack’s allegations “involve wider misbehavior” than just “the last days of [Peeplife.” ]’s His mother claims that “FAE ran the trip as a fatal debauch, not merely that [Peep] was explicitly offered or persuaded to take narcotics.”
In response to Pitchfork’s requests for comment, lawyers for FAE, Stennett, Mercer, and Ortega did not react. Mercer claimed “in any way” that he did not cause Peep’s death in court papers filed last summer. FAE has termed Womack’s claim “groundless and offensive”; Stennett, through her attorney, has denied providing Peep any narcotic; and Ortega, through his counsel, has called Womack’s case against him “completely unjustified, misplaced, and lacking merit.”