LAS VEGAS (CN) – Las Vegas Sheriff Douglas Gillespie allowed a major campaign contributor to film a drunk woman in jail, without her consent, for the contributor’s “reality” TV show, the woman claims in Federal Court.
Lenette Beall sued Turner Broadcasting System, Langley Productions, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Sheriff Douglas Gillespie, and John and Jane Doe corrections officers, alleging defamation, conspiracy and constitutional violations.
Beall says she was arrested in April 2010 for suspicion of drunken driving. She says she was humiliated later to see herself on Langley Production’s “reality” TV series, “Inside American jail,” where she was referred to as a “naughty girl.”
The show is broadcast on Network TruTV, which is owned and operated by Turner, according to the complaint.
Defendant Langley Productions also produces “Cops.”
Beall claims that Langley donated $10,000 to Sheriff Gillespie’s 2009 re-election campaign, and its owner, John Langley, donated another $10,000.
She claims Gillespie and Metro violated her civil rights by allowing Turner Broadcasting System to film her in jail for a TV show, without her approval, as she was too drunk to give consent.
“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 footage was edited, staged and sensationalized in an effort to demean the plaintiff. The segment was edited intentionally to insinuate that plaintiff had no remorse for her actions.”
Beall says in her complaint that she “was extremely intoxicated at the time and does not recall signing a release or waiver giving Langley or Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department permission to use plaintiff’s image. … In the event that a waiver was obtained, which is denied, plaintiff submits that she lacked capacity to enter into an agreement due to her extreme intoxication at the time the footage was taken.”
Beall claims that “Langley arranged for substantial political contributions to be donated to Sheriff Gillespie. Langley donated $10,000 to the sheriff’s re-election campaign in 2009. John Langley, owner of Langley Productions, donated an additional $10,000 to the sheriff as well.
“Langley was also allowed to extensively film various Metro operations, including that of Lenette Beall.
“Cases like that of Lenette Beall are used to sensationalize the conditions of citizens accused of crimes to be exploited by private and for-profit corporations to receive financial benefits for political subsidiaries of the State of Nevada and specifically, Metro.”
The complaint continues: “Sheriff Gillespie personally authorized Langley, which films the show ‘Inside American Jail,’ to film various Metro-related activities.
“At a meeting arranged and ordered by supervisory staff, Metro officers were ordered by supervisors to participate and assist Langley in filming various Metro investigations, searches, arrests as well as correctional activities for ‘Inside American Jail.’
“Detective Gordon Martines, a long-time veteran of the police force, asked Langley representative Susan Carney, in the Presence of at least one other Metro officer, who had ordered that the ‘Cops’ crew film Metro activities. According to Officer Martines, Carney replied, ‘The sheriff ordered this; we are here to help him with his campaign for re-election.'”
Beall claims Metro and the sheriff violate people’s constitutional rights to help the TV producers to make a profit.
Beall seeks punitive damages for conspiracy, constitutional violations, negligence, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false light, and use of her likeness for commercial purposes.
She is represented by Cal J. Potter III.