According to a bizarre lawsuit and insider comments, the singer and his husband, David Furnish, recorded an acceptance speech for the show several weeks ago, but the footage is being held "hostage" by the man who filmed it: "Jersey Boys" actor Erich Bergen. The actor, who also starred in "Madam Secretary," has reportedly only sent in a version with a watermark on it.
MZA Events claims in its lawsuit that it hired Erich several weeks ago and paid him $38,000 to produce a video of Elton and David for the telecast. In legal documents obtained by Page Six, MZA claims Erich "provided the video in an unusable [watermarked] format out of spite and for the purpose of antagonizing MZA Events because MZA Events was unwilling to accommodate Mr. Bergen's 'my way or the highway' approach to producing the video."
"Mr. Bergen has acted in bad faith. He has not taken these issues seriously, for example, responding by writing 'LOL!' when MZA Events raised its concerns about the harm that he is causing to its charitable partners," the court records go on to allege. "He otherwise has gone silent, refusing to provide a usable copy of the video or otherwise act appropriately and professionally."
The lawsuit contends that MZA and Erich agreed that the event's company would own the rights to the raw footage.
"He held this video footage hostage. When you look at the entire program in its entirety, there's Eric Garcetti congratulating Elton and David, Ann Margret and George Takei, it's strange when you don't have Elton and David accepting the award," a source said.
Eric's rep told Page Six the actor had no contract with MZA and "any suggestion of this is simply a lie."
"None of this is remotely true and frankly, very disturbing. There was no contract between Mr. Bergen and MZA Events. MZA hasn't paid him a dime. We're suspicious of the motives behind the filing of the lawsuit. Mr. Bergen hasn't done anything to derail the event," the rep said.
However, an insider tells Page Six, "Why would he shoot [the video] if he wasn't [paid]? It's all bizarre, but the event is moving forward. All of the charitable organizations are still behind it. We're making the best of the situation."