‘America’s Got Talent’ Contestant Accuses Tyra Banks of Assault

This still is taken from a GIF image that Tyra Banks posted to her Instagram account on May 23, 2017, gearing up for next week’s season premier of “America’s Got Talent.”

LOS ANGELES (CN) – A woman who entered the reality TV show “America’s Got Talent” has sued the production company behind the show, claiming the show’s presenter Tyra Banks pulled back her minor daughter’s hair and producers told the child to act embarrassed by a song celebrating her birth.

Suing Marathon Productions anonymously as Jane Doe, the woman seeks damages for infliction of emotional distress, civil battery and assault in a complaint filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The woman’s daughter, identified as Mary Doe, is also a plaintiff.

The singer-songwriter and her husband flew to LA in March to compete on “America’s Got Talent” after the show’s producers expressed an interest in the song which “held a certain long-term emotional importance to Mary,” the lawsuit says. But they say once they started performing, they were ridiculed by the judges and audience.

According to the complaint, the producers also told Mary to play to the cameras and act “embarrassed and annoyed” while her parents performed.

Banks is not a party to the lawsuit. But the complaint says the television personality and presenter shook Mary by the shoulders and pulled her hair back.

“Banks also insinuated that Mary was accidentally conceived, made fun of the performance and ridiculed song in front of Mary, all in front of active cameras that were filming Mary. After the performance, Banks asked Mary to describe, in front of active and filming cameras, her opinion about Jane and her husband after they were publicly ridiculed by AGT,” the 12-page lawsuit states.

Their daughter was traumatized and depressed by the experience and, according to the complaint, becomes nervous and anxious anytime the song is played.

The woman says she asked the producers not to air the footage but says they have refused – agreeing only to leave Mary out of the edit. The segment has not yet aired, however, as the 12th season of the show premieres on May 30.

Seeking damages, attorney fees and costs, the plaintiffs are represented by Elizabeth Yang.

 

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