The young dance troupe that garnered online attention after performing at a Donald Trump campaign rally is now suing the Republican presidential nominee for allegedly reneging on agreements regarding other performances, the Daily Beast reported.
“This is not an opportunistic thing where we’re suing Donald Trump,” said Jeff Popick, the founder of the USA Freedom Girls group. “We’re not suing for emotional distress and all that other stuff that people do when the trump up — no pun intended — when they trump up a lawsuit. That’s not what this is. This is tangible dollars I spent under false pretenses.”
According to the lawsuit, the campaign first failed to provide the group with a merchandise table for their appearance at a Trump event in Florida. Popick included an email from one of the campaign’s regional field directors, identified as Stephanie Scruggs, as evidence.
“We are not able to pay the girls or cover travel,” Scruggs said in the Jan. 5 email. “However we have coordinated with the event space to allow the girls to set up a table and pre-sell their album, shirts, ect if this is helpful to you.”
But the girls arrived to find that they were not provided with the table as promised. Their problems were compounded when security staffers refused to let them bring their merchandise into the event. Despite the obstacles, the Freedom Kids’ performance garnered them widespread attention online, which they then attempted to parlay into a crowd-funding campaign Popick said would go toward raising $1 million to send “anti-Trump celebs” like former Daily Show host Jon Stewart to Canada.
However, the suit stated that the campaign first told the troupe that they could perform at another event in Des Moines Iowa — if they traveled there from Florida at their own expense — only to be told upon arrival that they would not get to do so.
“It was a long, overnight odyssey. They were exhausted, but excited to perform,” Popick said. “We flew non-stop to Chicago, and then had to drive another five and a half hours to Des Moines. It wasn’t until after we were already in the vehicle about an hour or two into it that we had to break the news to the girls.”
Popick first threatened to sue the campaign in July, saying it was then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski who promised to set up a merchandise table for the group.