The drama between Russell Crowe and Azealia Banks continues. “The Nice Guys” actor has now hired Los Angeles attorney Shawn Holley to represent him, a source close to Crowe confirmed to Access Hollywood on Tuesday.
Holley, whose past clients include Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie, Mike Tyson and others, has also reached out to and spoken with Banks, according to Banks’ rep.
In a phone interview on Monday, Banks’ stylist, Rayon Jones, claimed that she was present when Holley contacted Banks the evening after a dinner party at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Oct. 15, during which Banks claims Crowe spat at her, called her a racial slur and physically removed her from the gathering.
“I felt really bad for her to have to go through that, and then to be alone and nobody has your back,” Jones, who said she has only been working with Banks for “two or three weeks,” told Access.
While Jones was not present at the alleged incident, she said she did hear the conversation between Holley and Banks, as well as an earlier phone call from rapper RZA that afternoon – both of which Jones said Banks had put on speaker.
Jones claimed that RZA, who brought Banks to the hotel get-together, had told Banks that Crowe wanted to apologize.
However, on Oct. 20, RZA shared a lengthy Facebook post detailing his version of the events, claiming Banks was “insulting half the room” and being “erratic,” “loud” and “obnoxious” before threatening to “cut a girl in the face with a glass.”
In addition, he said in his post that he “did not hear” Crowe call Banks a racial slur. According to RZA, Crowe “blocked” Banks from attacking another partygoer and “expelled” her from the room.
Jones said she knew nothing of Banks’ alleged behavior until after the story had “heated up” days after RZA contacted the rapper.
“That had never come up, even when RZA called her on the phone,” Jones told Access, adding that Holley didn’t mention those accusations during her conversation with Banks, either.
“She never said anything about any broken glass, or [Banks] threatening to cut somebody’s throat,” Jones claimed, adding that Holley “wanted it to be known that she was a black woman attorney” and that, according to Jones, Banks initially thought Holley was calling to offer her services.
Jones added that Holley also told Banks that “she didn’t even think that Russell knew [Holley] was a black woman.”
Jones said that Banks, while on the phone with Holley, “kept stressing the fact” that the case “is not going to go away, it is going to be a problem, and [Crowe] definitely needs to apologize.”
In addition, Jones told Access that she accompanied Banks to file a police report in between her phone calls with RZA and Holley. Jones said she believes Crowe owes Banks an apology, and that “they should now put the spotlight on his aggressive” conduct.
Back in 2005, the Oscar winner pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault following accusations that he’d thrown a phone at a hotel concierge in New York.
Last week, Banks’ manager issued a statement on her behalf via Twitter, saying the 25-year-old is “tremendously distraught and disheartened” over the alleged confrontation between her and Crowe.
“She is shell shocked and will speak out on the incident once she has had time to process the brutality and abuse she was unjustly subjected to,” the statement added.
The source told Access Hollywood on Tuesday that “Russell behaved like a hero” and “acted in defense of his guests,” and claimed that he “removed her” from the suite “by putting her in a bear hug and picking her up.”
According to the source, all 10 people who were there have provided statements that are “completely inconsistent” with Banks’ account – which the source said has “changed dramatically” – and claimed that some are “considering taking legal action” against the rapper. A spokesperson for the Beverly Hills Police Department wouldn’t confirm that information, telling Access they will not comment on an ongoing investigation.
“No one called her the n-word,” the source told Access. “She was yelling the n-word at everyone else. … her erratic behavior and abusive language scared everyone there.”
Adding, “she didn’t get an apology because she wasn’t deserving of one.”
Access has reached out to Holley, as well as reps for Crowe and RZA for comment.
On Monday, Banks sat down with Access Hollywood’s Alex Hudgens in an interview set to air later this week.
— Erin Biglow