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Another ‘Reality’ TV Show Accused|of Defaming an Unwitting Subject

NASHVILLE (CN) - A woman claims A&E Television Networks defamed her on its show "The Squad: Prison Police," by making her look like a "drug dealer" who smuggled drugs to her imprisoned husband by hiding them in her vagina. She says she never gave permission for the show to broadcast her image at all, but A&E repeatedly aired the show on the network, through cable on demand, and sells it in a DVD collection.

Marlorita Battle sued A&E and Wild Eyes Productions in Federal Court. She claims they defamed her on an episode of "The Squad" called "Conspiracy," which has been broadcast repeatedly on the network, on cable, and sold as a DVD.

Battle says she visited her husband at Riverbend State Prison in Nashville on Aug. 30, 2009, with her infant child when, Wild Eyes Productions was filming the "Conspiracy" episode.

"Specifically, the episode showed plaintiff entering the prison and revealed a closeup image of plaintiff's driver's license photograph," the complaint states. Battle says she never gave the defendants permission to photograph her or her driver's license.

The complaint continues: "Thereafter, plaintiff is shown interacting with her husband while one of the performers on the show, a member of the prison police squad, is shown monitoring plaintiff via prison camera and commenting how outsider are bringing drugs into the prison, specifically carrying such contraband inside their body cavities. More specifically, as images of plaintiff are shown on the screen, this performer comments that women often bring drugs into the prison by hiding the contraband in their vaginas. Plaintiff is next shown walking toward and into the visitor restroom at the prison while the same performer excitedly utters that something is happening. He implies that plaintiff is going to the restroom to retrieve contraband from inside her body. The next scene shows plaintiff exit the restroom and kiss her husband goodbye. As she kisses her husband, the same performer makes comments implying that plaintiff was passing drugs to her husband through this oral contact.

"None of the allegations or statements asserted by defendants, by and through their performers on the program, in this episode are true.

"Defendants knew at the multiple times this episode aired that their allegations and statements against plaintiff were not true."

Battle says she is a private figure, and that "multiple family members and acquaintances" asked her why she appeared on "The Squad" "as a drug dealer."

She demands punitive damages for defamation, false light, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

She is represented by Allen Woods.

So-called 'reality' TV shows have been sued repeatedly across the nation, often for ride-alongs in which police and camera crews burst into homes to arrest people - sometimes the wrong people in the wrong house.

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