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Over the years, A&E Television Networks has displayed a knack for getting sued due to its channels’ distinctive brand of crime-based reality television. But we doubt there’s anything on A&E that’s going to be as entertaining as a lawsuit that was filed on Wednesday by a woman named Marlorita Battle.
Battle says she appeared on an episode of The Squad entitled “Conspiracy.” The woman alleges that producers used tricky editing to make it appear as though she was sneaking drugs into a prison to her incarcerated husband by stuffing them, get this, in her vagina.
The complaint, filed in Tennessee District Court against A&E and Wild Eye Prods details what allegedly was shown on the episode.
First, Battle enters the prison. The camera shows a close-up of Battle’s driver’s license. She interacts with her husband as one of the show’s regulars, a prison police quad member, monitors her.
We’ll let the complaint describe the next part:
“As images of Plaintiff are shown on the screen, this performer comments that women often bring drugs into the prison by hiding the contraband in their vaginas. Plaintiff is next shown walking toward and into the visitor restroom at the prison while the same performer excitedly utters that something is happening. He implies that Plaintiff is going to the restroom to retrieve contraband from inside her body. The next scene shows Plaintiff exit the restroom and kiss her husband goodbye. As she kisses her husband, the same performer makes comments implying that Plaintiff was passing drugs to her husband through this oral contract.”
Battle says none of this is true. Moreover, she says A&E never got her consent to broadcast her image or her driver’s license.
She’s suing for defamation, false light, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and demanding $375,000 in compensatory and punitive damages plus profits from the airing of the episode. A&E wouldn’t comment on pending litigation.
It’s an interesting case if it’s true that Battle never waived her rights to sue. She might try to show that the incomplete and therefore misleading information presented on the episode added up to an actionable false assertion of fact. Producers will likely defend themselves by saying they are echoing one man’s opinion of what happened. Something to watch.
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