Reality Show Accused of Defamation
LOS ANGELES (CN) - Discovery's "Airplane Repo" TV show entered a restricted area of Hawthorne Airport without permission and defamed the airport operators as storing repossessed aircraft at the site, the airport claims in court.
Hawthorne Airport LLC sued "Airplane Repo" producer Undertow Films, Discovery Communications dba Discovery Channel, producer Clenet Verdi-Rosse and host Mike Kennedy on Monday in Superior Court.
Kennedy is one of three repossession agents on the show, which debuted on Discovery in late 2010.
The airport operator claims that Verdi-Rosse and Kennedy entered the airport on Feb. 6, 2013 to film an episode of the show called "Undercover and Out of Time," "with the intent to depict a fictional repossession of a Cirrus 22 aircraft located at the Hawthorne Airport."
"Plaintiffs are informed that the repossession of the aircraft was entirely fictional and that aircraft in question was not subject to repossession," the complaint states.
Verdi-Rosse and Kennedy entered the airport without filming permits and continued to shoot the episode, even after they were told to leave, the lawsuit states.
Airport personnel had to escort the two men out of the airport, Hawthorne Airport says.
Discovery broadcast the episode on Aug. 22, 2013 and on Sept. 27, 2013. The show portrays the airport as keeping aircraft that are "subject to repossession," according to the 12-page lawsuit.
The plaintiffs seek general and special damages and costs. They allege trespass to real property, common law misappropriation of name or likeness, statutory misappropriation of name or likeness, false light, defamation, and unlawful business act or practice.
The plaintiffs are Advanced Air, Advanced Air Aircraft Services dba Jet Center Los Angeles and Hawthorne Airport.
They are represented by Kirsten Stockton with Dinsmore & Sandelmann of Manhattan Beach.
Discovery spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg declined to comment.