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Tuesday, July 16, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Who Owns New York City? Reality TV?

MANHATTAN (CN) - An NBC "reality" show crew assaulted a street vendor and broke his wrist, filming a show appropriately named "Smash," the man claims in court.

Modou Niang, a Senegalese immigrant, is a licensed street vendor who works on 45th street between 7th Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas, he says in his lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court.

He was headed for work on the evening of Feb. 15, 2013, when he saw his work area was in a two-block area cordoned to film of a scene for the NBC Universal program, which involves the backstage drama of creating a new Broadway musical.

Merely going to work, Niang says, he became enmeshed in a drama of his own.

Several men, some of them wearing badges similar to those worn by the television crew, "proceeded to ask Mr. Niang whether he was from Africa. When Mr. Niang answered yes, they hurled racial slurs at him calling him 'nigger' and 'mother fucker several times," he says in the lawsuit.

One of the men, John Doe, grabbed a framed photo Niang was hoping to sell, and refused to give it back as he continued to hurl obscenities and racial slurs at the vendor. Doe, who is bigger and stronger then Niang, elbowed him in the chest, knocking him down and breaking his right wrist, Niang says in the lawsuit.

Niang says he dialed 911 from his cell phone, which caused the group - but not his assailant -- to flee.

Niang claims that despite his injury, the responding police officer spoke only with the man who attacked him and failed to even a police report.

Niang seeks damages for negligent hiring and supervision, personal injury, pain and suffering, infliction of emotional distress, and economic loss.

He is represented by Rene Myatt of Hollis, N.Y.

Named as defendants are NBC Universal Media, Smash T.V. and John Does.

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