Singer-rapper and professional provocateur Azealia Banks has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to sue Russell Crowe, who she says physically assaulted her and called her derogatory names at a party thrown by Crowe in Los Angeles two years ago. The two got into an altercation that resulted in her being forcibly removed from the party. “Crowe called me a nigger, choked me, and spat on me,” wrote Banks in the GoFundMe campaign’s summary. “It’s important to send a message that black women also deserve justice and will get justice in these situations.”
Following the altercation, Banks filed a police report, but charges were never brought against Crowe. The Los Angeles district attorney’s office cited that his actions were “justified to prevent the imminent violence threatened by Banks,” according to a report from TMZ. Crowe denies assaulting Banks and calling her any racial slurs.
Banks attended the party with rapper and music producer RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, who directed the Banks-starred film Love Beats Rhymes. Following the events of the party, RZA sided with Crowe, and publicly criticized her actions. “I saw her behave as an obnoxious erratic individual,” he said in a 2016 Facebook post. In a May interview on the Breakfast Club, Banks blamed RZA’s siding with Crowe for the film’s poor showing at the box office. “Who wants to see a movie where the director has slandered the lead actress?” said Banks.
Banks’ campaign, which started on June 24, is off to a slow start: She’s raised less than $2,000 of her $100,000 goal. “This isn’t about a big pay day for me,” she wrote on the GoFundMe page. Banks says she would donate any proceeds from the lawsuit to “ocean clean up charities.”