Rhythm-and-blues diva Patti LaBelle was accused Monday of screaming obscenities at a toddler and throwing a punch at the child’s mother outside a Manhattan apartment house.
Kevin and Roseanna Monk made the allegations about LaBelle’s encounter with their daughter Genevieve in a lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.
The Monks’ lawyer, Sam Davis, said Genevieve, then 18 months old, was scampering around the lobby of a Riverside Blvd. apartment building on the upper West Side in November when LaBelle, in full star regalia with oversize shades and a fur coat, started yelling.
“‘What are you doing letting your kid run around like that?’” Davis quoted LaBelle as asking Roseanna Monk.
He said LaBelle, a mother of five whose real name is Patricia Louise Holte, then started “screaming at my client, throwing water from a bottle at the mother’s face and the baby’s face.”
Davis said Monk, a kindergarten teacher, scooped up her child. ”‘Are you happy that this is what you have done to this baby?!’” Davis said Roseanna Monk asked the singer.
At that point LaBelle, “tries to take a swing” at his client, he said. LaBelle’s entourage then shoved her into a black car and the baby violently threw up all over her mother, Davis said.
One of LaBelle’s representatives declined to comment, while two others did not return calls. Davis said the Monks would have been satisfied with an apology from LaBelle, a temporary tenant in their building while she appeared in “Fela!” on Broadway.
They decided to sue, he said, when they read about an incident in Houston in which LaBelle’s hairdresser and a bodyguard were accused of assaulting a West Point cadet.
“Violence seems to be part of their road show,” Davis said.
Oh My! Maybe Mrs. Patti was having a bad day.