Sisters Sue Reality Show for Filmed Attack

     LOS ANGELES (CN) — The “Bad Girls Club” reality show pits a divergent group of assertive, opinionated young women together and then waits for the fireworks. Viewers watch these “fierce alpha females” as they “tackle the clashing personalities of their other housemates,” the Oxygen Network says on the show’s website.
     Now two twin sisters have sued six others and the show’s production company over a fight that got out of hand.
     Amanda and Victoria Hepperle say that “(w)ithin less than ten minutes of filming, they were attacked and beaten by six cast members.” They were left “bleeding, bruised, dazed, confounded, scared, in shock, terrorized and completely blindsided by what just occurred,” the twins say in their June 10 lawsuit in Superior Court.
     “The officers and executives of the BG show orchestrated the attack,” the twins say in the complaint. “They did so for television ratings and advertising dollars. The network heads themselves approved, ratified and knowingly agreed to the attack. They did so because they wanted their companies to reap the benefits that a live attack would generate on television, social media and all other promotional outlets. Defendants analyzed income over safety and chose money. The conduct at issue is reprehensible and deserving of maximum penalties.”
     The Oxygen cable channel, where the show is in its fifteenth season, is not a defendant. Its corporate parent, NBC Universal, is, as are Bunin-Murray Productions, Atrium Entertainment, and three pairs of sisters who starred on the show’s “Twisted Sisters” season this year.
     In-house attorneys with Bunim/Murray Productions did not return calls about the lawsuit.
     The Hepperles’ lead attorney, Anthony A. Liberatore, was in trial Monday and could not be reached.
     The suit names Bunim/Murray as a defendant, along with entertainment agency Atrium Entertainment and NBCUniversal, which owns the Oxygen cable channel that broadcasts the show.
     The individual defendants are Angela and Kristina Babicz, whom the Oxygen website describes as “trust-fund party girls with bad attitudes and short tempers;” Olivia Adams and Diamond Jimenez, “half-sisters who share a love of pranks and the ladies;” and Amber Thorne and Asia Jeudy, newly acquainted half-sisters “who bring the party with them wherever they go.”
     The Hepperles came from their home in New Jersey to Los Angeles for the Twisted Sisters season’s third episode to replace another pair of twins who’d dropped out. They say they were promised that show rules prohibit fighting and violence.
     They say the day they arrived, show officials took them to a hotel and took their identification, cellphones and money. The next day, they were driven from the hotel to the show’s mansion in a police car, with their hands cuffed behind them. As they walked into the house, the other cast members dropped a load of flour or powder on them, threw more in their eyes and began pushing, hitting and yelling at them.
     In the episode broadcast in late March, the six young women complain that they don’t want any new people in the house. “They’re on the floor begging for mercy; you don’t show them no mercy,” one woman says in the broadcast.
     One of the six appears to be struck in the face by a thrown pair of handcuffs, which cranks up the fight. After the Hepperles depart, show officials are seen scolding the cast members for being bullies.
     Not seen in the episode, say the Hepperles — whose faces are obscured in the broadcast — is that they had to persuade their driver to take them to an urgent care clinic for medical treatment before returning them to the hotel.
     The next day, a camera crew from the show came to their hotel room. Fearing the six cast members would arrive to attack them again, the sisters snatched a crew member’s cellphone, locked themselves in a bathroom and called their father. He called the hotel and police, who forced the producers to return the twins’ possessions and allowed them to leave, according to the lawsuit.
     The Hepperles seek punitive damages for assault, battery, false imprisonment, conspiracy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.
     According to their 18-page lawsuit, the company defendants in particular knew the Hepperles “would experience extreme emotional and physical distress,” but they “took the film footage of the beatings of plaintiffs, edited it, and thereafter advertised the attack, promoted the attack and created press releases and media outreach based on the attack, all to increase ratings.”
     The twins are represented by Anthony Liberatore.

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