Reality TV Contracts Increasingly Challenged In Court, Thanks To 2022 Law – Report

Reality TV may be entering a new era of legal jeopardy.

New York Times reporter Julia Jacobs today cited a 2022 federal law that gives employees who have complaints of sexual assault or harassment the right to resolve disputes through the courts. That’s even if their contract calls for arbitration.

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The 2022 law is loosening the grip of contracts laden with nondisclosure agreements and the use of closed-door arbitration proceedings to settle any disputes.

The Times cited several reality TV lawsuits in its report:

*** The makers of the Netflix dating series Love Is Blind were sued by contestant Tran Dang for “false imprisonment” for confining the cast to hotel rooms without their phones. She also claimed a fellow cast member groped her and exposed himself.

*** Bravo’s Real Housewives star Caroline Manzo accused a co-star of forcibly groping and kissing her, and said producers “regularly ply the Real Housewives cast with alcohol, cause them to become severely intoxicated.” They then allegedly encourage or allow them to “sexually harass other cast members because that is good for ratings.”

*** Faith Stowers, a former member of the cast of Vanderpump Rules, sued the companies behind the show, claiming that her reports of racism, harassment and another cast member brandishing a knife caused retaliation against her by making her role unpaid.

While some adjustments to on-set practices have been made by reality producers – most prominently NBCUniversal, the Bravo owners — other networks and production companies are fiercely defending themselves, the Times said.

The Times noted lawyers representing reality TV stars say that their clients do outlandish and provocative behaviors. But the line has been drawn at violations of the law.

Jacobs’s story concludes, “Determining the difference may ultimately be up to the courts.”

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