pop culture, pittsburgh, and potpouri

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

MTV is Going to Kill Someone!

This is what I thought watching that Tila Tequila show last night. One of the dudes, after being pumped up by another dude, basically inflicted grievous bodily injury on yet another dude. For What reason? I couldn't tell you even after MTV shamelessly repeated the episode into the ground for  the last week. All I do know is that it was not in self defense. Hell it was not even provoked. If I was a lawyer in California I would take personal injury cases for these kids on them there reality shows. I know that MTV makes them sign releases and would basically argue that this is an assumption of the risk, but at some point these releases are not going to be upheld in a court for public policy reasons. I would love to see one of these contracts that people sign on MTV. Lets just assume that they are not arms length negotiations. 

My argument is that the contracts are unconscionable. There is unequal bargaining power between the network and the participants. MTV can't create an unreasonably dangerous situation by purposefully and intentionally choosing people that are violent and dangerous to bring on the show, and then have everyone sign a release. MTV knows that these people are often trying to become actors and are desperate to advance their careers. They prey on this vulnerability, and put viewership in front of safety. A release must fully inform a person of all risk. This means that the person must have actually been aware of what they were in for, or at least that a reasonable person in the same position would have been aware. A release also does not normally include gross negligence or willful and wanton negligence. As far as I am concerned, MTV does back round checks on all of these people and know exactly what they are capable of before they are cast. I know that the people who go on these shows watch them, so they are fully aware of the kinds of things that happen, but they are never told before hand the exact risk that other contestants bring to the show. I am sure the release does not go into any detail of what kind of people are cast or what challenges they will be forced into. Putting people with anger problems and violent tendencies in a house with similar people, and then adding a never ending supply of alcohol, coupled with a competition for the love of a person they are obsessed with, may approach gross negligence in my book. The dude who fucked shit up would have undoubtedly been arrested for aggravated assault in the "real world" (no not the show....hahaha. shut up). Why should MTV and other TV networks get away with being partly at fault. I know that it would be an up hill argument, but I think that I could win a case or at least force a settlement. 

Now let it be known that the proceeding diatribe was not at all based on feeling bad for these people. No No. My mind was 100% focused on the amount of money that I cold make bringing these lawsuits. Personally I think that if you are dumb enough to go on these shows and sign the release then you deserve a split chin. The law does not agree with me though, and as a lawyer you have to do your job. Especially when you can make a lot of money doing it. This show alone has seen at least five physical fights, and numerous ambulance visits. Imagine the rest of trash TV and the injuries that people sustain while participating. If you could get one release inadmissable it would make you millions. Millions I tell you!!

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