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Wizcraft to initiate legal action on cheergirls' issue

The company alleges that that Jorge Aldana, who brought the two cheergirls who later alleged racial discrimination, has attempted to extort money and cash in on the issue.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAY 23, 2008 06:13 PM IST

Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt Ltd has alleged that Jorge Aldana, who brought the two cheergirls who later alleged racial discrimination, has attempted to extort money and cash in on the issue.

Dancers Ellesha Newton, 22, and Sherinne Anderson, 25, claimed they were stopped from going on stage by organisers ahead of an Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket match in Mohali, Punjab.

Newton told a newspaper: "An organiser pulled us away. He said the people here don't want to see dark people. The 'N' word was used and they said they only wanted beautiful white girls. We were crying. I could understand if it were the crowd, but they were very receptive."

In a statement released on Friday afternoon, Wizcraft said that ever since the issue was highlighted by the media since the past four days, Aldana had expressed his willingness to back down from the claim (of racial discrimination) in return for further payment.

If the company failed to meet the demand, he threatened to approach the international media. In his SMSes, he demanded a compensation of Rs 400,000, but in verbal communication, the demand was for a larger sum.

"We have evidence of this SMS that was sent by Aldana to one of the company's directors," said Wizcraft.

The company has decided to initiate appropriate legal action in this regard against the people concerned.

The company also dismissed all the allegations as false and baseless.

Among other things, Wizcraft said that the issue is an attempt at extortion and the real attempt of Jorge and his friends seems to be to build a saleable public image for themselves.

The company said it had contracted the Indian agent, DJ Akhtar Fazel, for providing the troupe of cheerleaders and they (Wizcraft) had no direct dealings with the dancers. The girls were brought here by Jorge Aldana through his company, Fierce Performance Productions.

The dancers' claimed through the media that the alleged incident occurred April 19 in Mohali but the same cheerleaders also performed in Jaipur April 21, Wizcraft pointed out.

"For an entire month, no complaint has been registered with the Wizcraft management, Kings XI Punjab management or IPL or any competent authority. Even the agent through whom the troupe of cheerleaders was contracted hasn't ever heard of this incident," said the statement.

Earlier this week, two dark-skinned cheergirls, who were hired by the Mohali team, through Wizcraft, had kicked up a storm by alleging that they were asked "to sit out" just before the April 19 match of the IPL played in Mohali because they were not white (skinned).

"Wizcraft would like to reiterate that all the allegations levelled against the company's officials are completely baseless and false. Wizcraft has at no time endorsed or supported discrimination against individuals on the basis of gender, colour or nationality," said the statement.

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