Mother of teen 'sex addict' sues 'Tyra' show

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Mother of teen 'sex addict' sues 'Tyra' show

Thu Oct 14, 2010 @ 09:32AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

EXCLUSIVE: Next on "The Tyra Banks Show": TV producers who kidnap teenaged sex addicts?

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.

McClendon, who says she is the biological mother and legal guardian of Washington, didn't like this one bit.

"This show was undoubtedly watched by sexual deviants, perverts and pedophiles alike," argues the complaint.

McClendon has various legal theories on why the behavior of producers was inappropriate.

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.

McClendon claims producers were negligent in not having the proper paperwork. She's asking for an injunction against further distribution of her child's TV appearance, as well as compensatory damages of $1 million and punitive damages of $2 million. 

We've reached out to Warner Bros. Television and will update if the studio comments.

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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