The mother of a fifteen year-old “sex addict” featured on the Tyra Banks show is suing producers:
The mother of a 15-year-old self-proclaimed “sex addict” is suing Warner Bros. Entertainment, Tyra Banks and executive producers of her talk show for $3 million for featuring her child on television without consent.
Beverly McClendon, a resident of Georgia, filed the complaint in an Atlanta federal court last week, after her daughter seemingly went behind her back and flew to New York to appear on “Tyra.” The lawsuit opens up questions about the care of duty owed when producers of a TV program invite minors on air to speak about their sexual proclivity.
According to the complaint, in October 2009 the “Tyra” show put out an open call on its website for “sex addicts.” The call allegedly was answered by Jewel Ciera Washington, 15, who claimed to be a sex addict. Show producers allegedly reached Washington on her cell phone and invited her to appear as a guest.
In November, Washington is said to have flown unaccompanied to New York, was picked up by a limousine and put up in a hotel. Later, she claims she appeared on the show, which was promoted as featuring a “fifteen year-old sex addict.” She says she was also paid for her appearance.
For one, she says that in order to employ her child, producers needed to obtain written consent of the Commissioner of Labor in Georgia. Second, producers allegedly had a legal duty to obtain parental consent in order to fly her to New York, lodge her alone in a hotel room, and appear on television. And finally, producers could only get around Washington’s right to privacy by gaining permission from her guardian. Allegedly, they didn’t do so.