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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Sisters Say Reality Cop Show Exploits Women

CHICAGO (CN) - Two sisters say the Biography Channel's "Female Forces" TV show broadcast their images against their will in an episode that featured one's arrest in "lascivious" circumstances that created a "derogatory and negative" impression of both of them.

"Female Forces" is produced by The Greif Co. for A&E Television Networks in cooperation with the City of Naperville, Ill., and features female Naperville officers in the field.

In their federal complaint, the sisters allege that a male officer arrived at 20-year-old Chelsea Frederick's apartment to arrest her on a traffic warrant. Frederick and her sister Ferrara Daum were leaving the building dressed in pajama pants and the officer detained them to wait for a female officer and camera crew.

Frederick told the crew - who claimed to be shooting a documentary on Naperville police - that she did not want to be filmed in pajamas. The crew filmed her arrest anyway, after the officers prevented the sisters from leaving.

Frederick says he pink Hello Kitty pajamas fell down her hips as she was restrained, but officers refused to let her lift them, so the crew could shoot her with "indecently exposed skin above the waistband."

Frederick says she refused to sign a release form, and the defendants failed did not even ask Daum to sign one.

The sisters say A&E maliciously broadcast the episode on the Biography Channel. Likenesses of others were blurred, but the episode clearly showed Frederick and Daum and was maliciously edited to delete Frederick's protests, the sisters say.

The episode highlighted handcuffed Frederick's arrest in sagging pajamas while the female officer stated the girl was "concerned about the state of her pants." The officer also criticized and condemned her lifestyle.

The sisters say that a "reasonable viewer" would have a derogatory and negative impression of them and of Frederick in particular.

The sisters say the public had no right to know about Frederick's embarrassing arrest, which had no news value and was broadcast for commercial entertainment.

They say Frederick has moved away from Naperville to seek work and was embarrassed and afraid she would not be hired due to her public arrest and ridicule. She demanded that A&E stop showing her likeness, but it continued to air the episode.

The sisters seek punitive damages for violation of privacy and publicity rights. They are represented by Donald Spak.

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