I was made aware of a situation in which a previously undisclosed professional #girllikeus was threatened with extortion because of the unscrupulous and criminal behavior of a transphobic former employee.
Leigha Hagood is a real life Olivia Pope for the hip hop and PR world and as we now know because she is coming out, a trans woman.
I’m honored that Leigha trusted me with her story, and there will be more to come from me on these electronic pages concerning our trans sister in the weeks to come.
Publicist Leigha Hagood released a coming out statement to TransGriot blogger and civil rights activist Monica Roberts. It was in response to a defamatory press release issued by a former employee who demanded cash in exchange for not disclosing Hagood’s transgender status.
Hagood refused to give in to the extortion demands, stating, “This is not the first time someone has threatened to out me unless I pay them, but it will be the last! I’m trans and so proud.”
Hagood is known behind the scenes throughout the industry as a fixer who specializes in crisis management, and worked with several high profile clients in public relations scandals. In 2012 she took control of the PR company she was working for (The Firm Global) as head publicist, which merged with LT Creative Group in summer 2013 and specializes in personal PR and brand development.
Hagood says, “I got tired of doing so much work and never really getting the credit. Because of the delicate and highly confidential nature of the services rendered, I couldn’t even publish a client list and most clients are taken on referral basis only. I even had large publicists coming to me for ideas and crisis management for their clients.”
Hagood currently is tied deeply within the hip hop industry and works with several high profile celebrities, including Grammy nominated and Grammy winning producers, artists and athletes. She has also worked with large corporate clients, including The Gay and Lesbian Center and Friends Without Borders.
Hagood had not previously publicly disclosed her transgender identity during the time she has been working in the PR and hip hop industry. “It’s hard enough to be a woman in this industry without having to throw trans in front of that, but enough is enough! I look at people like Laverne Cox, Tona Brown and Janet Mock, on top of the amazing support I’ve gotten, and I’m confident this is the best thing to do.”
Hagood hopes that clients will see beyond her gender and that her work speaks for itself, saying, “We are all humans and strive for the same thing success, love and happiness.”
When Hagood refused to pay an ex-employee for her silence, the ex-employee sent out a defamatory press release calling Hagood several anti-transgender slurs and a fraud while attaching unlawfully obtained copies of Hagood’s California ID and Social Security card.
Hagood says, “Contrary to what was written in the (ex-employee’s) press release this has nothing to do with my work and everything to do with my being transgender. My gender has nothing to do with the integrity of my work. The employee says she feels she should have been told upfront that she was working with a ‘Person’ like me.”
Hagood has filed a police report with the West Hollywood Division of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and their investigation is ongoing.