Singer Connie Francis accused Universal Music Corp. in a $40 million lawsuit Monday of allowing her music to be used in porno movies, saying the label took advantage of her mental illness. The federal lawsuit details Francis’ battle to maintain her mental health after she was raped and tortured in a hotel room in 1974.
Universal knew about her illness when it licensed four of her songs to be used in a pornographic video about a gay prostitute, the lawsuit said.
Francis also accused Universal of failing to properly pay royalties on unspecified recordings.
Calls to Universal and the singer’s attorney were not immediately returned Monday.
Francis, 62, gained fame in the 1950s and ’60s with hits like “Who’s Sorry Now” and “Where the Boys Are.”
Francis said she learned more than a year ago of the use of four of her songs in a “vile pornographic” movie titled “Postcards From America,” whose soundtrack was released in 1995. A second film, “Jawbreakers,” released in 1999, included her song “Lollipop Lips,” the lawsuit said.
After her rape, she was unable to work for years and was repeatedly admitted to mental institutions, sometimes for treatment that included severe shock treatments, the lawsuit said. She was diagnosed with manic depression and attempted suicide in 1984, according to the lawsuit.