Women Call A&E Show Predatory & Untrue

     HOUSTON (CN) – The A&E show “8 Minutes,” about an undercover pastor who redeems sex workers, was a farce that paid recruits $200, not the housing, medical and job aid it promised, three women claim in court.
     Three Jane Does sued A&E and the show’s producers Long Pond Media and Relativity Media, both of Beverly Hills, on Friday in Harris County Court. Seeking more than $1 million in damages, they say they are victims of the show that preyed on vulnerable and desperate women in Houston, a hub of human trafficking.
     The show got its name from star Kevin Brown, a policeman turned pastor.
     According to A&E’s promo: “With over 20 years of law enforcement experience, Brown has determined that eight minutes is the maximum amount of time to safely convince these women to leave with his team – any longer puts everyone’s lives at risk.” The risk supposedly came from the women’s pimps.
     The show portrays Brown posing as a john and surprising escorts in hotel rooms, where he offers them “a new life.” But the Does say the real story was behind the scenes where producers solicited them with texts and phone calls to numbers they found in online ads.
     Jane Doe I took an odd path to the sex trade. She has a foreign doctorate degree that is not recognized here and was a successful businesswoman in South America, she says. She fell on hard times and came to the United States with her daughter to find more of the same.
     “Jane Doe I searched for work for months, even working a manual labor job as a female in her late 40s on a construction site until she fell through a roof and broke multiple ribs,” the complaint states.
     “When it became clear there was no other way to provide shelter and food for her family, plaintiff Jane Doe I decided to post an ad to an escort site without the knowledge of her husband or children.”
     With her eyes failing, her car constantly breaking down and her family facing eviction, Doe I says, she agreed to appear on the show and signed a contract with production team member Keya Mason, who promised her more than just medical care.
     “We are A&E and a Hollywood production company … they have advertisers that are huge companies with tons of connections,” Doe I says Mason told her. “Anything you need from them is only a matter of a few calls, a car, medical and dental treatment, clothing, an allowance. They will do what it takes to get you and your family back on their feet. … Plaintiff Jane Doe I was overcome with emotion by this opportunity and told Mason that she was ‘like Oprah and Ellen’ when she surprises everyone with a brand new car. Mason responded that this was ‘exactly’ like this situation.”
     Mason is not named as a defendant.
     Doe I says a friend drove her to a Holiday Inn where she met with Brown for 40 minutes, after which she was paid $250 and was “told by Mason that a ‘producer will call you to provide you with assistance to start your new life, if you need anything call me.'”
     But Mason’s phone was disconnected and the producers ignored her calls, Doe I says.
     Does II and III say they had similar experiences with one other outrage: A&E and its producers did not blur their faces like they agreed to.
     Doe II says producers went to her drug rehab program in a Houston hospital to recruit her. They told her “she would ‘never have to do an out-call again,’ which included medical, housing and employment assistance,” the complaint states.
     Doe II says her mother drove her to meet with Brown for an hour-long interview that was broadcast on April 2.
     “Despite the producers fully knowing that plaintiff Jane Doe II’s mother was driving her to the set, the episode is rife with mentions of a ‘dangerous trafficker’ described as a ‘male mid-30s’ waiting outside of the hotel,” she says in the complaint.
     Doe II says the producers paid her $200, and she did not hear back from them.
     Doe III says she hails from a small town in Kentucky, where word spread quickly about her appearance on the show, though she told a producer she would be willing to be interviewed only if her face was blurred out.
     Doe III says friends and family “bombarded” her with calls and social media messages and she had to tell her daughter what she does for work.
     “Further, the failure to blur out plaintiff Jane Doe III’s face has also put her in danger, as the show’s own ‘advocate’ D’Lita Miller stated in the episode featuring Jane Doe III: ‘I hope that she doesn’t reveal to her pimp what’s going on here, because if he finds out, there’s no telling what could happen,'” the lawsuit states.
     Miller founded Families Against Sex Trafficking and appeared in the show as a counselor alongside Brown.
     A&E canceled the show in May after five episodes when BuzzFeed broke a story with interviews of sex workers who claim the producers lied to them. Miller, herself a sex trafficking victim, told BuzzFeed she advised producers that all the women’s faces should be blurred and was surprised by the news about the producers’ tactics.
     The women seek punitive damages for breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, negligent misrepresentation, infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy.
     They are represented by Damon Mathias in Dallas.
     None of the defendants responded to requests for comment.

%d bloggers like this: