Rihanna’s Lawyer to PR Guy Who Planted Beyoncé Story: We Don’t Know You, Maaan!

Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele
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Rihanna performs onstage at the Hollywood Bowl Oct. 24, 2015, in Hollywood, Calif. 
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Rihanna’s legal team wants no part of this story about how a press guy named Jonathan Hay created the rumors about Rihanna and Jay Z having an affair behind Beyoncé’s back.

Hay was reportedly interviewed by the author of an unauthorized Beyoncé biography that’s been the talk of the town lately. In the book, Hay said that he was hired to promote Rihanna’s single “Pon de Replay,” and in order to generate buzz about the budding starlet—whom no one really knew at the time—he created the story linking her to Jay Z in order to raise her profile. 

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“It was my job to make sure she hit. […] In an effort to generate some interest […] I began to plant  […] stories that Jay and Rihanna were having a hot romance,” Hay said in the book. 

Rihanna’s attorney Jordan Siev told the New York Post’s Page Six that those are lies, lies, lies. He said Hay never, ever worked for Rihanna.

“Hay was never Rihanna’s publicist or had any personal or professional relationship with her,” Siev said.

When Page Six told Hay that Rihanna denies working with him, Hay clarified his association with the pop icon and said that he was hired by the producer and writer of “Pon de Replay” to promote the single, not Rihanna herself. 

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“I wasn’t Rihanna’s publicist; I was [the] publicist for her first single. She didn’t have a publicist. […] It was back in the day; she was nobody,” Hay retorted.

Well, the producer and writer of “Pon de Replay,” Vada Nobles, admits that he met Hay once or twice, but suggested that their quick business relationship wasn’t extensive: “I met this guy once, maybe twice … I did not hire Jonathan Hay to promote Rihanna [or] ‘Pon de Replay.’ … He had nothing to do with Rihanna. Someone I knew referred this guy [to me as a publicist]. I said, ‘Let’s see what he can do.’ … He was using my name and what I was doing to get traction for himself.”

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Hay emailed The Root Wednesday and said that he had worked for Nobles for “over two years,” and that he “broke 'Pon de Replay.’” 

It’s a lot of back and forth, but all in all, I’m sure Rihanna, Beyoncé and Jay Z are happy that this rumor has been put to bed. 

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Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.

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