ABC's The Bachelor Lawsuits: two lawsuits, one bully
First, ABC filed a frivolous lawsuit against Reality Steve (blogger Steve Carbone) and now ABC is being sued for racial discrimination. On April 18, 2012, two black men filed a federal lawsuit claiming that The Bachelor and The Bachelorette TV shows discriminate against minorities. The plaintiffs are Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson. The defendants are American Broadcasting Company, Inc., Warner Horizon Television, Inc., Next Entertainment, Inc., NZK Productions, Inc., and Michael Fleiss.
The Plaintiffs claim that during a casting call in Nashville last August, they were rushed through the process, while white applicants were given a lot more consideration. Their lawsuit is open to all minorities who applied for the leading role on The Bachelor and Bachelorette shows. Their complaint notes that not one minority has been hired as the lead in all 23 seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Click here to read their racial discrimination complaint.
Update: 10/15/12. Discrimination lawsuit against ABC is dismissed
Today a Tennessee judge dismissed the discrimination lawsuit against The Bachelor citing the First Amendment. Read this LA Times article for more information.
Update: 7/10/12. Twitter feud between Mike Fleiss and Reality Steve
Unfortunately, this real life drama continues. Please read the latest update here.
Update: 6/4/12. The Bachelor lawsuit against Reality Steve is over
On June 4, 2012, the lawsuit filed by The Bachelor producers against Reality Steve was dropped after Steve Carbone agreed not to have any further contact with the cast, crew or employees of the show. You can read more about that here.
Reality Steve.com will continue as usual, and Steve Carbone will not have to pay The Bachelor producers any money. He has always maintained that the lawsuit was baseless.
What goes around comes around
I can't help but think this racial discrimination suit is karma for ABC's unfair lawsuit against Reality Steve. I think both of these lawsuits are ridiculous, yet I do feel some satisfaction for the negative attention this brings to ABC. They deserve that and more for trying to bankrupt Reality Steve into submission because they object to his accurate reporting of spoilers. (If you're not familiar with ABC's lawsuit against Reality Steve, please read The Bachelor and the Blogger: ABC's lawsuit against Reality Steve.) Somehow the Reality Steve lawsuit has gotten very little media attention after the news initially broke in early December, 2011. This discrimination lawsuit may prove to be different.
With regard to the racial discrimination allegations, I have to agree with the plaintiffs Claybrooks and Johnson on one point: It certainly is true that no minority has ever been hired as the lead for any of the Bachelor shows. What's also true is that there's never been a gay Bachelor, a fat Bachelor, a disabled Bachelor or an old Bachelor. The Bachelor franchise does not represent America. And for that, may I say, thank God!
Applicants sign their rights away to be on The Bachelor
Being selected for The Bachelor is a dubious honor
Instead of suing, the Plaintiffs ought to be glad they weren't hired for this show because what you really sign up for is character assassination, as evidenced in Paragraph 11 of the Bachelor Eligibility Requirements:
"Applicants acknowledge, understand, and agree that Companies (as defined below) use or revelation of Personal Information and Recordings as defined in these Eligibility Requirements may be embarrassing, unfavorable, humiliating, and/or derogatory and/or may portray him or her in a false light."
The Plaintiffs must have agreed to these eligibility requirements because part of the application process is to acknowledge applicants have "read and fulfill the eligibility requirements." And the Plaintiffs did go through the casting and interview process.
The full document can be viewed here: Bachelor Eligibility Requirements
And the application can be viewed here: Guy's Application for The Bachelor
Everyone deserves the equal right to be humiliated on national TV
The Plaintiff's discrimination complaint alleges that they, and other minority applicants, have not been given the same opportunity as white people to compete for the lead role in the Bachelor and Bachelorette.
So let me get this straight, they want the same opportunity as white people to be portrayed in an "unfavorable, humiliating, and/or derogatory" way. Really?
I don't think there's anything illegal in making a show about white people going out on dates. After all, there are other TV shows, award shows and even whole networks centered around black programming, Latino programming, gay programming, women's programming, religious programming, and the list goes on.
The idea that the Plaintiffs believe The Bachelor could be a platform to advance racial tolerance is really ludicrous. The Bachelor is an unscripted, fake drama whose only goal is to get ratings at the expense of their cast. Why anyone signs up for it is beyond me. And yet thousands of people apply for their chance at public humiliation, and millions of people are entertained by watching it, which brings me back to ABC's lawsuit against Reality Steve.
ABC doesn't like what they can't control
ABC's intention, as stated in their application documents, is to portray their contestants in the most negative and dishonest way possible. And they do just that season after season without fear of any consequences. They're used to getting what they want. So when someone comes along who's not under their control, and starts publishing spoilers and other inside information, they don't like it. But unlike The Bachelor contestants who sign away all their rights in exchange for their 15 minutes of TV fame, Reality Steve still has all his rights, especially his First Amendment rights.
ABC's lawsuit against Reality Steve is unjust
This is nothing more than a case of bullying
Reality Steve is an entertainment journalist who specializes in Bachelor news. He started out in 2003 as just a blogger writing funny recaps of The Bachelor in his spare time. About three years ago, Steve started receiving detailed information about Bachelor episodes well in advance of their air date. And like any journalist, he published this information on his blog.
ABC was ticked off although they never acknowledged it publicly. Behind the scenes they've been trying to figure out where the leaks are coming from. They even offered $30,000 to Jesse Csincsak, former fiance of Bachelorette DeAnna Pappas, if he could find out who was responsible. Csincsak dishes in his blog post dated 12/8/11:
"I told them I would look into it and when push came to shove all I could find out is that it was someone in editing but could never find a name of a person...
"The problem is that they have hundreds of people who see the tapes in editing so nailing it down would be a tuff one so of course I was unable to cash in on the 30K"
And while Jesse Csincsak is no fan of Reality Steve and thinks "he should stick to his day job," he also had this to say:
"So how do I feel about this lawsuit ?? I Think this Lawsuit is a perfect case of ADULT BULLYING !! Reality Steve has no contract with mike or ABC this is simply a SCARE TACTIC on mikes behalf to scare past & future contestants from talking about how he bullys people."
Please support Reality Steve and show ABC they cannot get away with their bullying tactics
These are things you can do to help Reality Steve in his fight against ABC:
- Sign the Reality Steve Extortion Lawsuit petition at Change.org
- Support Mission: Red Stars (Reject Extortion Demands, Stop The Attack on Reality Steve) on Facebook and Twitter.
- Submit Paypal contributions for his legal defense fund through RealitySteve.com
© 2012 Lynda Makara