By Tim Kenneally
Bret Michaels — or rather, his attorney — is accusing the Tony Awards of hitting a bum note in its latest move in the legal saga over the Poison singer’s 2009 injury.
The rocker’s lawyer, Alex Weingarten, has lashed out at the Tonys organization and CBS, accusing the awards group of trying to duck its responsibility over the injury, which occurred when Michaels was struck in the head by a set piece at the end of his performance at the ceremony.
According to Weingarten, the Tonys organization and CBS have filed a third-part cross-complaint in U.S. District Court in New York last week against Rock of Ages Broadway LLC — which he claims is a “desperate” effort to deflect blame for the incident.
Michaels was performing with the Rock of Ages cast when the injury occurred.
“This is a desperate act,” Weingarten said. “The producers of the Tony Awards and their co-defendants cannot credibly deny that they almost killed Bret while he was performing with the cast of Rock of Ages, so instead they are trying to point the finger elsewhere.
“CBS and the rest of the defendants are just grasping at straws,” Weingarten continued. “It was their negligence that injured Bret, and it was then their decision to try to profit from his injuries by joking about them and playing them for ratings.”
Michaels filed suit against the Tonys and CBS, which aired the awards show, in May 2011, claiming that the producers failed to give him “blocking instructions” that could have prevented the injury, and suggesting that the head injury might have been responsible for the suaracchnoid hemorrhage that the singer suffered in 2010.
Head injury aside, Weingarten’s statement suggests that the biggest blow might have been made to Michaels’ ego. The attorney also takes the Tonys to task for not employing a broadcast delay to block the accident from going out over the air, and laments that video of the accident became a sensation on the web.
“The Tony Awards could have – but did not – take advantage of the standard broadcast delay to prevent the video from being transmitted,” Weingarten said. “The incident became an Internet mainstay, and at one point was one of the 10 most-viewed clips on YouTube.”
The Tony Awards, CBS and Rock of Ages Broadway LLC have not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.