Mariah Carey Sues Former Assistant Claiming Ex-Employee Blackmailed Her over 'Intimate' Videos
Mariah Carey alleges that a former assistant secretly recorded her and blackmailed her with the videos, according to a new lawsuit
Mariah Carey is suing her former assistant, alleging that the woman secretly recorded her and attempted to blackmail her with the private videos.
Court documents obtained by PEOPLE state that the singer is suing Lianna Shakhnazarian, Carey’s executive assistant from March 2015 to November 2017, for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, extortion and invasion of privacy. Carey is seeking damages upwards of $3,000,000.
The lawsuit alleges that Shakhnazaryan, also known as Lianna Azarian, “turned out to be a grifter, a Peeping Tom(asina) and an extortionist,” alleging that Shakhnazaryan secretly filmed Carey without her knowledge.
“Azarian, without Mariah’s knowledge or permission, secretly filmed Mariah engaged in personal activities which, if revealed, Azarian knew would be personally embarrassing and professionally damaging to Mariah,” the lawsuit said.
Shakhnazaryan also “displayed the intimate videos to her friends and co-workers,” according to the lawsuit, which adds that Shakhnazaryan’s salary was originally $250,000 before being raised to $327,000 prior to her dismissal.
The lawsuit continued, alleging that Shakhnazaryan — whom PEOPLE has learned was hired by a previous member of Carey’s team — threatened to release the private videos she had filmed if the singer ever fired her.
“But Azarian’s criminal conduct did not end there,” the lawsuit said. “Azarian expressly told a co-worker that were she ever terminated by Mariah (which occurred in November of 2017), Azarian would sell the video for a profit and buy herself a home.”
In addition to the videos, the lawsuit also alleges that Shakhnazaryan used credit cards meant for business purposes “for her personal benefit.”
“This new year welcomes Mariah’s continued efforts to clean the trash from her life,” a rep for Carey tells PEOPLE in a statement. “According to a complaint filed today in California, an executive assistant employed in 2015 to help with business and personal matters, turned out to be a grifter and extortionist.”
“Because her threats and bad acts are too great to be ignored,” the statement continued, “Mariah has been compelled to file a lawsuit against her. Given that the evidence against this former assistant is vast and deplorable, we anticipate a victorious resolution. Mariah continues her streak of success this year with an upcoming North American tour and return to Vegas.”
Shakhnazaryan has hit back in her own civil complaint against Carey and the singer’s former manager Stella Bulochnikov, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles.
“These baseless allegations are an attempt to attack my client’s character and deflect attention away from a workplace harassment and wrongful termination lawsuit she filed today against her former employer, Mariah Carey,” attorney Mark Quiqley told PEOPLE in a statement.
“My client never did anything she wasn’t specifically asked to do while working in the course and scope of her job as a personal assistant. Her lawsuit is about holding her employer accountable for severely inappropriate behavior that caused tremendous stress and emotional turmoil.”
Weeks before the latest filing, Carey settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with Bulochnikov. The two “reached a mutually agreed to resolution of this matter,” though the terms were not disclosed.