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Wednesday, July 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

TBS Cop Show Accused of Defamation

LAS VEGAS (CN) - A woman says she was too drunk to sign a waiver agreeing to appear on the TBS "reality" TV show "Inside American Jail." She claims Turner Broadcasting System and Langley Productions defamed her and invaded her privacy by filming her "undoing her blouse to expose her cleavage, acting in a provocative manner, joking and flirting, and being generally mischievous" while being booked for a DUI arrest.

Tina Vlijter says she's received an "avalanche of personal ridicule, scorn, and unwanted recognition for the way she was portrayed" on Episode 133 of the show, which appears on Turner Broadcasting System's TruTV channel.

She sued TBS Langley in Clark County Court for false light invasion of privacy, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

"Plaintiff was extremely intoxicated at the time and does not recall signing a release or waiver giving Langley permission to use plaintiff's image," the complaint states. "Plaintiff believes that Langley and/or Langley agents obtained footage of the plaintiff without her authorization.

"In the event that a waiver was obtained, which is denied, plaintiff submits that she lacked the capacity to enter into an agreement due to her extreme intoxication at the time the footage was taken."

Langley titled the episode "No Laughing Matter," and "intentionally edited the footage of the plaintiff to promote plaintiff in a negative light and embarrass the plaintiff," Vlijter says. "The footage was edited, staged, and sensationalized in an effort to demean the plaintiff. The segment was edited to intentionally insinuate that plaintiff believed her arrest was funny, hilarious, and/or that her detention was in fact a 'laughing matter.'"

Vlijter says she asked TBS and Langley to remove the episode from the show's website - where it appears under the heading "Naughty Girls' - and to produce the waiver she allegedly signed, but they have no responded.

"The segment featuring plaintiff contains footage of the plaintiff interacting with the Clark County Detention Center personnel, including, inter alia, 'joking' with officer Chaillet of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department about the food menu at the Clark County Jail," according to the complaint.

"The segment also purports to show the plaintiff undoing her blouse to expose her cleavage, acting in a provocative manner, joking and flirting, and being generally mischievous. The feature also contains voice-over narrative and 'bumps' which provide the television viewer with the names of the individuals involved, including the Clark County Detention personnel, the first name of the individual detained, and a description of the facts surrounding the charge against the detainee."

Vlijter says she and her children have been cursed by unwanted notoriety since the episode appeared, 2 years ago.

"Since late November, early December of 2008, plaintiff has been the subject of an avalanche of personal ridicule, scorn, and unwanted recognition for the way she was portrayed on 'Inside American Jail,'" the complaint states. "The plaintiff has been approached by numerous strangers and individuals on the street, restaurants, and shopping centers regarding her appearance on 'Inside American Jail.'

"In addition, plaintiff has been harassed and her privacy has been invaded as a result of her appearance, vis-à-vis Langley and Turner's unilateral decision to film, distribute, and broadcast plaintiff's image without valid permission, on 'Inside American Jail.' Unfortunately, even plaintiff's children have fallen victim to ridicule and embarrassment as a result of plaintiff's unauthorized appearance on TrueTV and 'Inside American Jail.'"

Vlijter seeks punitive damages. She is represented by Easton Harris with Greenberg Harris.

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