12/12/2011 // Los Angeles, CA, USA // Keller Grover LLP // Los Angeles Employment Lawyer Eric Grover
Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Employment Lawyer News) — Almost anything goes in the world of reality television, but a newly filed lawsuit against MTV is suggesting things may have gone way too far, reports the California employment attorneys at Keller Grover LLP. An MTV “Real World” cast member has sued the network after she was allegedly the victim of sexual abuse during the Thailand season of “The Real World/Road Rules Challenge.”
The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Tonya Cooley filed the lawsuit on Thursday, November 28, 2011, charging MTV, Bunim/Murray Productions and cast members Kenneth “Kenny” Santucci and Evan Starkman of sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination and other violations of labor law.
Cooley claims the two contestants raped her with a toothbrush while she was passed out from excessive drinking. In fact, she further alleges that the defendants gave alcoholic drinks to the participants and encouraged their questionable behavior. For example, male contestants allegedly forcibly removed female bathing suits and touched intimate areas of the female cast member’s bodies.
“The guys were allegedly filming each other with the toothbrush and a camera they brought on to the show, and then taking pictures of her passed out naked,” an insider told Fox News. “Tonya only found out about the incident because the other girls told her when she woke up.”
Cooley reportedly expressed her grievances to the producers, but she was allegedly just told to “deal with it,” the Hollywood Reporter stated.
The employment lawsuit was filed because Cooley claims that the agreement she signed with MTV was an employment agreement, or that her relationship with MTV can be considered an employer/employee relationship under California labor laws.
“The lawsuit brings up a host of cutting edge legal issues. The standard cast member contract signed by the plaintiff purports to absolve MTV and the production company from death, rape, STD’s and mental breakdown, among other exclusions. Whether such a contract can be upheld may turn on the question as to whether individuals who appear on shows such as The Real World are performers or employees. If they are employees most of the exclusions contained in the cast member contract would likely be found to be unenforceable,” explains California employment attorney,” Eric Grover.
This news was brought to you by the Los Angeles employment lawyers at Keller Grover LLP.
Keller Grover is an experienced employment law firm that has played leading roles in a wide variety of employment related claims, including breach of contract cases and discrimination and harassment cases based on race, sex, age, disability and other legally protected categories. Keller Grover LLP is dedicated to helping workers whose wage and hour rights have been violated. For more information about the Los Angeles employment lawyers at Keller Grover and employment law cases, please visit www.kellergover.com.
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