Hit Me Baby One More Time… With a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit?

Fernando Flores, a former bodyguard for Britney Spears, is suing the 29-year old pop princess for sexual harassment.

The former police officer wants $10 million in damages. He claims that, during his half a year stint as one of Spear’s bodyguards, the singer made “repeated, unwanted sexual advances.” Flores’ lawsuit also alleges that Spears spent a lot of time under the influence of drugs, like Narcon, Ritalin, and other methamphetamines.

One blurb from the lawsuit is particularly telling: “Spears was generally personally unkempt… [she] had obnoxious personal habits, such as chain smoking cigarettes, which made her smell continuously of stale tobacco. She broke wind or picked her nose… unapologetically before [Flores] and others, and she was constantly and gratuitously loud and profane in her speech.”

According to TMZ.com, “Fernando Flores claims Britney made repeated unwanted sexual advances towards him by exposing herself in front of him in her home.”

Flores described a scene in which Spears – who was wearing a skimpy white lace outfit – intentionally dropped her cigarette lighter, bent over to pick it up, and “thereby exposed her uncovered genitals to (Flores) causing him shock and disgust.”

Another time, naked Britney summoned the bodyguard to her room to fetch her some bottles of 7UP. The third time she exposed herself, Britney allegedly taunted Flores, saying: “You know you liked it.” Lastly, the suit also claimed that “in addition to exposing herself…Spears engaged in numerous sex acts in front of (Flores).”

The bodyguard finally quit his position after the pop princess allegedly exposed herself to him.

Unsurprisingly, Spears’s attorneys have been quick to denounce Flores’ allegations as totally untrue. But this has not stopped the blogosphere from going wild. Radar Online, for instance, seemed to revel in the details of Ms. Spears’s alleged hygiene problems, and quoted the lawsuit extensively, including this blurb: “she did not bathe for days on end, did not use deodorant, did not brush her teeth, did not fix her hair, did not wear shoes or socks.”

So did Spears “parade naked in front of [Flores] and often beckon him into her bedroom for sex”? Or didn’t she?

Spears’s history of odd behavior – remember a few years ago when she shaved her head seemingly for no reason? – no doubt prompted many readers to buy into some or all of Flores’ allegations.

This is an important lesson: past perceptions can radically shape how we view future allegations. In this case, Flores’ allegations seem to “rhyme” with Spears’s tabloid worthy past behavior.

If you’ve experienced sexual harassment, racial discrimination, retaliation, or other some other form of workplace mistreatment, you might want to note any relevant historical behavior. If a supervisor (or other person) who mistreated you has a history of breaking the law, or at least making inept, stupid, or even hostile behavioral choices, this can help you.

For instance, say you served as an executive assistant for six months, and your boss has been sexually harassing you. If other past assistants can support the thrust of your argument — by testifying that they, too, experienced harassment or at least saw signs that indicated that the boss was more than capable of violating workplace conduct rules — then you may enjoy extra leverage to get compensation and hold the wrongdoer to account.

To approach your case in a systematic, strategic way, we invite you to connect with the powerful, experienced team at Joseph & Kirschenbaum at (212) 688-5640 or www.jhllp.com.