Madonna items up for sale include a break-up letter from rapper Tupac, a glow-in-the dark rosary, various clothes and jewelry, personal photos from a racy bachelorette party and several handwritten to-do lists. — AFP Photo
NEW YORK — In a move to undermine a controversial auction of Madonna memorabilia, a longtime collaborator of the Material Girl has uploaded a number of her demos to YouTube, including Like a Prayer.
For two years Madonna has been trying to stop a sell-off of private effects including a breakup letter from rap legend Tupac Shakur and cassettes containing previously unreleased demo versions of some of her biggest hits.
But more than 70 lots are up at the memorabilia house Gotta Have Rock and Roll, which is hosting the event in collaboration with the Queen of Pop's former art advisor, Darlene Lutz.
Leonard said on Facebook he hoped the YouTube uploads would stop the sale of the demos.
"It's not cool that someone is seeking profit from something they had no part in creating," he said. "It's not theirs to sell."
One cassette with tracks including Like A Prayer, Spanish Eyes and Cherish currently has six bids, the highest at US$1,283, with just over two days left to make offers.
The Tupac letter has a minimum bid of $100,000, but no takers yet. In 2017 a judge halted an auction with 22 items that once belonged to Madonna, including the 1995 letter from Tupac, who would be shot dead a year later.
"The fact that I have attained celebrity status as a result of success in my career does not obviate my right to maintain my privacy, including with regard to highly personal items," Madonna, 60, said in court papers at the time.
But a New York state appeals court ruled last month that her lawsuit fell outside of a three-year statute of limitations on recovering belongs from Lutz, who had a falling out with the singer in 2003.
Gotta Have Rock and Roll cited that ruling and called the statements made by Leonard "clearly erroneous as well as defamatory."
"Madonna lost the litigation at the trial court and has exhausted her ability to appeal," the house said.
"The cassettes are being sold as collectibles only and copyright to the songs contained on the cassettes is not included." — AFP