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Ex-Assistant Takes Lady Gaga to Trial For Unpaid Overtime — and Exasperation
If you become famous and make your friend your personal assistant, don’t expect her to be grateful. Especially if you keep her on your beck, call, and whim 24/7. This bit of wisdom became apparent to Lady Gaga – birth name, Stefani Germanotta – whose one-time roommate and friend Jennifer O’Neill has been given the go-ahead from U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe to pursue her claim that she is owed overtime, as she stipulated in a 2011 lawsuit. The trial will take place Nov. 4.
For two months in 2009 and for 13 months starting in 2010, Jennifer said she had zero free time to herself, but was expected to answer Gaga’s every whim and call, and was, in effect, always on call.
She was indeed paid for this, $50,000 to begin with, and then $75,000 annually for the second bout, while, meanwhile, Gaga earned $80 million this first half of this year. And the two meanwhile upheld somewhat of a strained and strange friendship in which they would share a bed at hotel rooms – O’Neill never had her own room—and Gaga would ask her for such petty things as to change the DVD in the player in the middle of the night.
“Every day is a work day for her, so every day is a work day for the rest of us. There is no, ‘We’re going to stay in, we’re going to sleep.’ There is no, ‘Let’s put on sweatpants and go out to the movies and be girlfriends.’ It doesn’t work like that,” O’Neill said.
Lady Gaga had testified in her deposition what she expected of her assistant: “You don’t get a schedule. You don’t get a schedule that is like you punch in and you can play … at your desk for four hours and then you punch out at the end of the day. This is when I need you, you’re available.”