November 17, 2011 6:14pm PT by Matthew Belloni
Ryan Seacrest, Bravo Sued By Unhappy Participant in New 'Shahs of Sunset' Reality Show
Bravo and producer Ryan Seacrest have been sued by a woman who claims she was humiliated and abused in connection with the production of an upcoming reality show called Shahs of Sunset.
Kathy Salem filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday in an attempt to stop Bravo from airing scenes featuring her on the series, which has been described as a Persian Jersey Shore because it follows the lives of moneyed Persian young people on the west side of Los Angeles.
Salem claims she was invited to a party in July and was informed that the events would be taped for possible inclusion in the show. She also signed a one-page cover sheet of a release but she claims she wasn’t shown nor told about the rest of the release granting broad rights.
When she went inside the party, Salem claims she was quickly accosted by two cast members in a contrived attempt to manufacture drama for the show. “What developed was a bullying session wherein [the cast members] became verbally abusive to plaintiff and addressed her in an obscene manner,” the complaint states. “Then, after the verbal abuse, someone tried to strip plaintiff’s top off and another cast member by the name of Reza threw a cup of water in plaintiff’s face.”
Salem claims she was unwittingly cast as a "bad girl" during the party and was publicly humiliated. She's seeking an injunction against airing any footage featuring her and at least $100,000 in damages from the producers.
“She did not understand that she might be blindsided and forced against her will to play a demeaning and humiliating role in an episode of Shahs of Sunset,” the complaint states.
The Bravo series is set to begin airing in February 2012.
Seacrest's reps declined to comment. Bravo did not immediately respond to a request for comment. UPDATE: A Bravo spokesperson says in a statement: "Bravo has not seen a copy of the complaint, and thus we cannot comment."
The defendants are Seacrest, Ryan Seacrest Prods, Bravo Media and Berne Prods. The suit claims causes of action for rescission, fraud and deceit, negligent misrepresentation and infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and injunction.