(CN) – A former model for “The Price Is Right” says the show’s producers harassed her for months about her pregnancy, refused to let her return to work after pregnancy leave and fired her as part of a pattern of harassing the show’s models.
Brandi Cochran says she worked as a game show model for CBS and The Price is Right productions for 6 years before she got pregnant.
During that time, Cochran says, she saw directors harass and fire two other models when they got pregnant.
Afraid of being fired, Cochran says, she didn’t announce her pregnancy, and ended up miscarrying because of “severe stress.”
Show producer Kathy Greco told Cochran the miscarriage was “nature’s way of getting rid of a bad baby,” according to the complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court.
When she got pregnant a second time, Cochran says, she announced it. Her bosses began to ignore her and told other models that Cochran’s pregnancy meant they would be able to work more, she says in the complaint.
She says co-workers told her that she was losing her waist and that “her boobs were huge.” She says that in referring to Cochran’s pregnancy, Greco told another model, “Go figure! I fire five girls … what are the odds?”
Cochran says producers pressured her to announce her pregnancy on air, after repeatedly telling her she was “showing.” After the on-air announcement, Cochran says she revealed that she was carrying twins, and executive producer Mike Richards put his face in his hands and “asked her twice, in an annoyed tone, ‘Twins? Are you serious? … You’re serious?'”
After that, Cochran says her bosses cut back her hours and continually changed her schedule.
Cochran says she suffered continual harassment from co-workers. She says the show’s stage manager told her, “You’re packing on a lot of extra weight,” made jokes about her breaking things if she stood on them, and said, “wide load coming through,” when he saw her.
Five months into her pregnancy, Cochran’s son died in utero, and doctors advised her to carry both twins to term, according to the complaint. But shortly after that, Cochran’s water broke and she had an emergency Caesarean section. She says she went on disability leave to recover, and for postpartum depression and anxiety.
Cochran says her daughter had to stay in the hospital for 3 months, due to her early birth and pulmonary problems.
When her daughter was released from the hospital, she was still on oxygen and had two monitors. Cochran says she was “extremely stressed” from caring for her sick daughter while simultaneously trying to lose weight to return to work.
When she recovered from the pregnancy, Cochran says Greco and Richards gave her the cold shoulder and refused to schedule her even though she told them “she had lost her excess weight and was ready to work.”
The defendants allegedly removed Cochran from the show’s Web site, though she was still an employee.
On the Web site, Cochran says she saw a question from a viewer asking when Cochran would return. The show’s host allegedly responded that “no one knew when she would be back and that she was happily home with her new baby; he said that there was ‘no news’ about Cochran, but that she was loved and missed.”
Around Christmas of 2009, Cochran says, Greco sent her a text message saying she would call in the new year. On Jan. 7, Cochran says, she hadn’t heard from Greco, so she called her. Greco allegedly claimed she would have to talk to Richards.
Cochran says she asked what Greco needed to talk to Richards about, and Greco said, “We don’t know what we’re doing yet … I’m sorry to keep putting you off like this.”
On Feb. 23, Cochran says she still hadn’t heard from Greco. She says she called Greco, and Greco told her she was fired.
Cochran adds that the defendants refused models break and meal times and often refused to pay royalties for their appearances in reruns. And she says the show used her image in advertisements for DVDs, video games, cell phone applications and DirecTV, without paying her.
Cochran sued CBS Television Network, Fremantlemedia, Fremantlemedia North America, and RTL Group, demanding damages for discrimination and civil rights violations.
She is represented by Carney Shegerian and Anthony Nguyen with Shegerian & Associates of Santa Monica.