'Housewives' Faces Suit Over N.J. Finale Brawl
HACKENSACK, N.J. (CN) - The cast and crew of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" staged an attack on "Johnny the Greek" for last week's season finale, the man claims in court.
John and Penny Karagiorgis filed the lawsuit in Bergen County Superior Court. The defendants include cast members Giuseppe "Joe" Gorga and Christopher and Jacquelin Laurita, along with NBC Universal, Bravo Media and production company Sirens Media. Moxie Salon, the site of the alleged attack, is also a defendant.
The Karagiorgises say that "Housewives" producers "encouraged, promoted, required and/or demanded that members of the cast of 'The Real Housewives of New Jersey' engage in verbal and physical conflict with one another and with members of the public, thus creating a culture, climate and/or atmosphere of confrontation, hostility and violence in order to attract viewers, generate higher ratings, and increase revenue."
Bravo apparently did not end up using the brawl footage in the Season 5 finale episode, which aired on Sept. 29, choosing instead to simply show the aftermath of the fight.
The Karagiorgises say the incident was filmed in March at Moxie Salon in Ridgewood, N.J.
Moxie Salon "invited the defendants to their premises for the express purpose of filming footage for 'The Real Housewives of New Jersey' in order to generate publicity for the salon and increase revenue," according to the complaint.
John Karagiorgis had allegedly accompanied his wife Penny to the salon after the producers invited her. He then received permission to enter the premises, according to the complaint.
The Karagiorgises have reportedly appeared on a few episodes of "Housewives" over the years, with John often referred to as "Johnny the Greek."
"While at the Moxie Salon, members of the cast, specifically, but not limited to, defendant Giuseppe Gorga, began verbally arguing with John Karagiorgis," the complaint states.
Shortly thereafter, "John Karagiorgis was unlawfully attacked without warning by defendants Giuseppe Gorga, Christopher Laurita, and Jacquelin Laurita," it continues.
John says Gorga and Christopher Laurita punched him "on the head and/or face with a closed fist," while Jacquelin Laurita struck him "on the head and/or face with a stiletto·type shoe."
The Karagiorgises also claim that during the attack, unknown members of the crew "restrained John Karagiorgis such that John Karagiorgis could not defend himself from the unlawful attacks of defendants Giuseppe Gorga, Chirstopher Laurita, and Jacquelin Laurita."
They say that "defendants Bravo, NBC, and Sirens Media failed to call the local ambulance corp. or the local police" after the attack, and "produced and recorded the entire incident for 'The Real Housewives of New Jersey.'"
After the incident, "defendants Giuseppe Gorga, Christopher Laurita, and Jacquelin Laurita filed criminal charges against John Karagiorgis in Ridgewood Village Municipal Court," but those were dropped in September, according to the complaint.
The Karagiorgises say that "defendants Giuseppe Gorga, Christopher Laurita, and Jacquelin Laurita only filed criminal charges against John Karagiorgis in retaliation and with malicious intent, because John Karagiorgis reported the unlawful attack by defendants Giuseppe Gorga, Chirstopher Laurita, and Jacquelin Laurita on [him]."
Bravo and NBC Universal had "no comment" on the story, while Sirens Media did not return a request for comment. The cast member defendants could not be reached.
John Karagiorgis told the Newark Star Ledger earlier this year that the fight grew out allegations that he made rude comments about the Lauritas' autistic son. Kargiorgis has always denied he made such comments and told the paper he believes he was set up and used by the production staff of "Real Housewives" to add drama to the episode.
John and Penny Karagiorgis claim in their civil complaint that they have suffered "bruising, scarring, disfigurement, fractured bones, facial lacerations, mental anguish, psychological health problems, physical discomfort, pain and suffering, economic losses, and shame and embarrassment." They seek damages in their civil complaint for assault, battery, conspiracy, negligence and liability.