Bloggers beware! In today’s surprising news the producers of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are suing the popular blogger realitysteve.com for soliciting information to be used for leaking spoilers about their hit shows!
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in California Federal Court NZK Productions and Alternative Television, Inc — the producers of the shows — are claiming the defendant, blogger Steve Carbone (a.k.a. realitysteve) is ” attempting to have contestants breach their confidentiality pledges.” The website has leaked such high-profile information as the location of the shows, the final three, the winners, even going so far as to disclose the participants before ABC officially releases the cast list. In exchange for realitysteve contacting participants for classified gossip they want at least $75,000 in damages.
Participants in the ABC shows are required to sign contracts barring them from divulging “non-public” information about the shows. Realitysteve is accused of learning “confidential information” about the series by “contacting and soliciting information from participants, cast, crew, and other employees of the series.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, show employees are told that they will face high penalties upwards of a million dollars for disclosing the info, but according to the suit Carbone “allegedly contacted them with knowledge they were subject to confidentiality obligations.” Supporting this claim, the producers have included an email supposedly sent by realitysteve to a Bachelor contestant on Nov 17. It reads:
“Let me just say, I’m very well aware of your contract. I also know that over 500 contestants have been on this show and not one of them has ever been sued for the $5 million. It’s just a scare tactic. Trust me. Just like they had no idea you sent me that last email, they’ll have no idea about any correspondence either. I know you’re scared and a little paranoid by it, but don’t be. Unless they are hacking your email or tapping your phone, there’s absolutely no way for them to find out.”
In exchange for providing him with information, realitysteve allegedly offered the participant $2,500 if she were willing to breach her contract. “Since you are a student, and I know you have loans up the ying-yang, I’d be willing to compensate you… I swear, this is the easiest money you’d ever make and you and I are the only two people that would know.”
The producers claim this is not an isolated incident and include several other examples of where realitysteve contacted participants and former participants for information to further his site. According to the producers realitysteve was sent more than one cease and desist letters, which were ignored, before they sought legal action against the blogger for “intentional interference with contractual relations and unfair competition and demanding at least $75,000 in damages and an injunction.”
It is interesting to note that despite the producers so-called ire that realitysteve referred to their confidentiality contracts as “scare-tactics” they are not seeking damages against any of the show participants who broke their own contracts!
Rebutting against the lawsuit realitysteve posted a “statement” about claims and insists: “I have not been served a lawsuit, nor have I even seen this lawsuit, so I have no specific comment at this time.”
Instead he posted the communication he received from the production companys’ attorneys. realitysteve’s attorney, Brad Kizzia, insists there has been “no interference” with participants’ contracts and alludes to the website seeking legal action against the plantiffs! “For your clients to sue Mr. Carbone would be unnecessary – at best a waste of the parties time and expense and at worst, an illegal slap action attempting to deny Mr. Carbone’s First Amendment rights.”
Well, this is all very interesting! And in case you weren’t aware Ben Flajnik‘s season of The Bachelor premieres next month…
[Photo Credit: WENN.com]
THOUGHTS? DO THE PRODUCERS HAVE A RIGHT TO SUE REALITYSTEVE FOR LEAKING SPOILERS ABOUT THEIR SHOW? SHOULD THEY BE TAKING ACTION AGAINST THE PARTICIPANTS THAT LEAK INFORMATION INSTEAD?
DO YOU BELIEVE THIS A FRIVILOUS LAWSUIT TO GENERATE PUBLICITY FOR THE SHOW OR IS THAT JUST ME?