Guy Sebastian had been reluctant to support boy band star Shane Filan on a tour of the United Kingdom because the Westlife singer’s audience would be full of ‘fat older feral women’.
Sebastian had been worried his appearance on the tour would not be ‘the right fit’ for his style of music and the Irish singer’s type of fans.
The Australian Idol winner is giving evidence at the trial of his long-time agent Titus Day, who is accused of embezzling him out of almost $900,000. Day denies all the allegations against him.
Sebastian told the Downing Centre District Court in Sydney on Thursday he had agreed to support Filan on his UK tour in 2017 after expressing serious reservations to his manager.
Guy Sebastian had been reluctant to support boy band star Shane Filan on a United Kingdom tour because the Westlife singer’s audience would be full of ‘fat, older feral women’. He is pictured with wife Jules
Sebastian had been worried his appearance on Shane Filan’s UK tour would not be ‘the right fit’ for his style of music and the Irish singer’s type of fans. Filan is pictured performing in 2019
In an email on May 16, 2017 he wrote to Day: ‘I’m not trying to be choosy but it’s a big investment and talking to Sammy who did a similar tour she said it was all fat older feral women.’
Sebastian said the words ‘fat older feral women’ had subsequently been removed from his original email in a reply from Day and regretted he had used them.
‘I said something which wasn’t great, something about feral old women or something,’ he said.
‘I did say that but it disappeared in Mr Day’s response to me. He in fact took it out.’ Sebastian later said, ‘obviously it’s not something I’m proud of saying’.
Sebastian has previously told the court it had been ‘quite a contentious point’ between him and Day that he ‘wasn’t really getting any opportunities’ to perform overseas.
‘I was seeing other artists get some opportunities and I wanted to see my management trying their hardest,’ he said on Wednesday.
‘At the time we were both acknowledging our relationship was on tenterhooks.’
Titus Day has pleaded not guilty to 50 charges of embezzlement as a clerk or servant, and 50 alternative counts of stealing. He managed Guy Sebastian for a decade before the pair split acrimoniously
Filan was one of the two lead singers of Westlife, among the biggest boybands of all time, and went on to have a successful career as a solo artist.
Sebastian had agreed to tour with Filan to increase his exposure to the UK market ahead of hopes he would release an album there. He was not going to be paid for his performances.
Before committing to the concerts Sebastian expressed reservations about whether it was something he should do.
‘I had some questions absolutely when it was presented to me,’ he said on Thursday. ‘Whether it was the right tour and the right fit.’
At the time Sebastian was making ‘very electronic’ music which he thought might not go down well with Filan’s audience – ‘Mr Filan being an ex-boy band member’.
‘I thought I would stick out compared to the main show,’ he said.
Sebastian had planned not to complete the full tour as he would be attending his brother’s wedding. ‘There were some shows I was going to miss,’ he said.
Sebastian has denied he would ever have deliberately failed to tell his agent about a paid performance to deny him his 20 per cent commission
In the end, Sebastian played only about half the booked performances, returning to Australia and leaving another support singer, Matt Gresham, to take his slot on the tour.
‘There was a lot of reason for why I chose to go home,’ Sebastian said. ‘I was correct with my assertions that it was not the right fit.’
Sebastian said on Wednesday he had also been struggling with mental health issues while touring with Filan.
‘I had reached a not so great place and the tour itself was an element of it,’ he said.
Day has pleaded not guilty to 50 charges of embezzlement as a clerk or servant, and 50 alternative counts of stealing.
Mr Toomey has taken Sebastian to several of the charges which The Voice coach conceded appeared to have been laid mistakenly.
Day (left) and Sebastian (right) had worked together since 2007, four years after the singer won the first series of Australian Idol over Shannon Noll, another former Day client
One charge related to a payment of $17,154.61 made to Day’s accounts for Sebastian’s services on July 4, 2014. Sebastian agreed adding that sum to a payment of $121,651.20 made to Day four days later totalled $138,805.81.
A day later a payment of $111,044.65 was made from Day to Sebastian – exactly 80 per cent of the $138,805.81 figure, and what would be left after Day took his commission.
Sebastian agree it appeared he had been paid the money he was due and said he had ‘absolutely no desire’ to see Day prosecuted for offences he had not committed.
‘If there are mistakes I will put my hand up, absolutely,’ he said.
Another charge was based on $1,200 paid into Day’s account on December 19, 2014. Day received a further $11,000 on December 22 and exactly 80 per cent of those sums combined was paid out to Sebastian a week later.
Sebastian is pictured outside Downing Centre District Court where the embezzlement trial of his former Manager Titus Day has been beset with delays, including a judge’s death
Asked if he had been paid the $1,200 that Day was accused of embezzling, Sebastian said, ‘Yes, I would accept that.’
‘According to what you’re presenting to me it seems like the numbers do add up,’ he told the jury.
Sebastian has previously denied deliberately ripping off Day by not declaring he performed a concert at a car dealership for a $30,000 fee.
The singer said on Wednesday he had performed a gig at Clintons Toyota at Gregory Hills in Sydney’s south-west on February 2, 2017.
He had previously bought a Toyota four-wheel drive from Clintons and said it was possible he had told a journalist at the event he was performing for free.
Under cross-examination by Day’s barrister Dominic Toomey SC, Sebastian said he was unsure if he had in fact received payment.
‘I can’t remember,’ he said. ‘I may have been.’
Guy Sebastian is a judge on The Voice Australia with (left to right) fellow singers Rita Ora, Keith Urban and Jessica Mauboy
Sebastian said he would have told Day about the engagement and his manager would have been entitled to 20 per cent of any performance fee.
Pressed about whether he would fail to disclose a paid performance to Day so he could keep the commission, Sebastian strongly denied he would ever do such a thing.
‘It absolutely would not have been an intention such as that to pocket whatever – I’m guessing there was some sort of payment made by the line of questioning…’ he said.
‘But there’s definitely absolutely no reason why I would go to any length to hide any sort of payment.’
Sebastian was then shown financial records which recorded payments of $29,600 and $400 from Clintons Toyota made on January 25 and January 27, respectively.
The Crown has claimed Sebastian was underpaid at least $886,175.10 by Day in performance fees, royalties and an ambassadorship between 2013 and 2020.
Asked if the sum of those two payments – $30,000 – was his regular fee for one-off concerts, Sebastian said, ‘It varied but that was quite a common figure.’
Mr Toomey suggested Sebastian had not told Day he had performed at Clintons.
‘Okay, but that wouldn’t have been intentional,’ the singer replied.
Mr Toomey further suggested Sebastian had not paid Day his commission on the $30,000 fee.
‘That also wouldn’t have been intentional,’ Sebastian said. ‘I don’t recall getting paid that. It was never, ever even close to an intention for me to ever rip Mr Day off, ever.’
‘And if that’s an isolated thing I will look at that. I will cop that. That obviously is not great.’
The trial continues.