5:59pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Hollywood Docket: 'The Affair' Body Double Sues for Retaliation
Ruth Wilson's body double on the Showtime series The Affair is suing the network for allegedly firing her after she complained about being sexually harassed by an assistant director on set.
Ashlynn Alexander says her direct supervisor, Travis Rehwaldt, sexually harassed her on Sept. 17, 2015, by listing her as "Alison Sexytime Double" on the call sheet instead of her usual "Alison Body Double." She's suing Showtime, Possible Productions and Rehwaldt for retaliation and discrimination.
"Ms. Alexander was humiliated," writes attorney Troy Kessler in the complaint filed Thursday in New York state court. "She takes her career seriously and knew that everyone working on The Affair read the call sheet and would see her reduced to a sexual object."
The actress says she complained to Rehwaldt the next day and he admitted the language was inappropriate, but also belittled her and told her she could be easily replaced. A week later she was fired.
"When Ms. Alexander asked for an explanation for her termination, she was told that she did not have a good hair match with Wilson and The Affair was looking for someone else to fill her former role," writes Kessler. "Ms. Alexander knew that this was untrue, since she had been wearing a wig for the duration of her work as Wilson’s body double, without issue."
Alexander says the situation has caused her to become depressed and has given her anxiety about her ability to perform.
Showtime declined to comment on the lawsuit. (Read it here.)
In other entertainment legal news:
— A former BET executive is fighting her ex-supervisor's attempt to be dismissed from her gender discrimination lawsuit against the network. Zola Mashariki sued BET and Stephen Hill in May, claiming the company's "misogynistic culture" allowed her to be continually marginalized because she's a woman. Hill argued that he should be dismissed because two of her three claims against him personally should be brought against an employer, not a supervisor, and that she failed to properly plead her harassment claim against him. In a filing Monday, Mashariki says Hill "repeatedly targeted and drove out women, especially women of color, whom he found threatening" and should be held individually liable. "Federal courts applying California law have concluded that even a single allegation, much less harassing in nature than the extensive allegations in Ms. Mashariki’s complaint, can support a valid claim for harassment at the pleading stage," writes attorney Felicia Medina. (Read the filing in full here.) A hearing is set for Aug. 14.
— Lionsgate and TD Ameritrade are soft-shoeing toward a settlement in the dispute over a Dirty Dancing parody commercial. The ad features a cartoon image of a man holding a piggy bank above his head with the tagline "Nobody puts your old 401(k) in the corner." The studio sued, claiming it violated its common-law trademark rights to Patrick Swayze's famous line, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner." The parties have reached a tentative settlement on key deal points and are asking the court to push back their deadlines for summary judgment motions to Monday. If they can't hammer out the full terms of the agreement by then, the court may see another round of legal footwork.
— Judge Judy is at the center of another legal fight. This one is between the executive producer of the Hot Bench spinoff and his ex-wife. Patric Jones is suing Randy Douthit and Judge Judy Sheindlin herself. Jones says Douthit intentionally hid from her the fact that he conceived the project while they were married and she's owed a share of his profits from the series. "Douthit has never disclosed to Plaintiff the existence of that community asset, or that he should receive, has received, or will receive valuable consideration for it," writes attorney William White. (Read the complaint in full here.) Reps for Douthit and Sheindlin did not immediately respond to requests for comment.