QUEENS, N.Y. (CN) – The Food Network cheated a reality-show contestant out of a promised frozen yogurt franchise, the man claims in court.
Kris Herrera sued Television Food Network, Scripps Network Interactive, Yogurt City, Cineflex Productions and others, in Queens County Supreme Court.
Kris Herrera claims the network lied to him to get him to participate in the show, telling him a yogurt chain was filming a “corporate video” to document his life as a manager of one of the franchise’s stores.
The premise of the show, “Giving You the Business,” is that the CEO of a major food chain “selects four standout employees as contestants and secretly puts them through a contest involving a series of tests and outrageous challenges that place each contestant in situations of ridicule, embarrassment, and false light,” Herrera says in the complaint.
“Hidden cameras capture every move of the four employees and in the end the candidate who performs the best is selected and given their own food franchise store.”
Thinking he was participating in a “corporate video,” Herrera provided the defendants with personal photos and described his personal background, work motivation and family life.
After background video was shot, Herrera says, he was told he would be reassigned to a different store for a seven-hour shift.
“The ‘seven hour shift’ was another ruse and deception,” to put him in “situations of embarrassment, ridicule and negative light,” Herrera says.
The next day, the defendants informed him at a TV studio that he and three other managers were participants in the television show. They also told him that he had won, and would be given his own 16 Handles franchise store, Herrera says in the complaint.
But after filming ended, “defendants began advising plaintiff that he was only going to be awarded a ‘part of a franchise’ or a ‘stake in a franchise’ as opposed to his own franchise store as promised during the filming of the episode,” according to the lawsuit.
Herrera claims he asked what percentage of a franchise he would be awarded, but he never got a response.
Instead, he claims, he got an email offering him one share of common stock in Yogurt City. The contract restricts him from selling the share, and says that he loses it if he ever leaves the company, Herrera says.
He claims he was told he had to sign the contract before the show aired on May 23. Herrera says he didn’t sign it, but the show was broadcast anyway.
“Plaintiff would have never agreed to continue to participate on the episode, would have never allowed the episode that showed him in situations of embarrassment, ridicule, defamation and false light to air, and would not have signed any of the documents attached as exhibits to this complaint allowing the broadcast airing of the episode if he was not going to be awarded his own franchise store and if he was only going to be awarded a single, non-transferable share of stock in the company,” Herrera says in the complaint.
He seeks damages for breach of contract, fraud and violations of his right to privacy and publicity.
Defendants include Scripps Networks, Scripps Networks Interactive, Yogurt City Inc., Yo Fresh Inc., Solomon Choi, Cineflex (Boss Canada) Inc., Cineflex Productions, Cineflex Media Inc., and Cineflex Rights.
Herrera is represented by Oscar Michelen with Cuomo LLC, of Mineola.
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