A&E says that it isn’t Storage Wars that’s fake but the lawsuit from Dave Hester. A month and a half after Hester called the hit reality series a staged “fraud on the public and filed suit against the network and Storage Wars producers for more than $750,000, A&E fired back late last week. And they made their response (read it here) almost all about the money and free speech. “Original and AETN opposed Hester’s demands for more favorable contract terms, and he was notified that his participation was no longer needed in the Program. Hester then filed this lawsuit against AETN and Original. In a transparent attempt to distract from the issues – and maximize any potential recovery – Plaintiffs’ Complaint tries to convert a garden-variety breach of contract claim into a tabloid-worthy drama, in which Hester portrays himself as a crusading whistleblower. But setting aside the notable inconsistencies in his exaggerated self-portrait, the law does not permit such sophistry,” says the response A&E filed in LA Superior Court on January 24. Using Anti-SLAPP laws and First Amendment free speech guarantees as blunt objects, A&E goes on to say that Hester’s’ Unfair Business Practices cause of action is “meritless” and it wants the court to strip it from his suit.

A&E also claims that if its show is staged or not, which it never really addresses, Hester and his lawyer Marty Singer are wrong about what laws apply to them. “Plaintiffs claim under Section 17200 fails because his only purported basis for claiming that the Defendants’ conduct was ‘illegal’ is an ambiguous reference to the Communications Act of 1934, which has no application to cable television programs,” says the dense document from the defendants. They also say the former Wars star, who claims that he was fired because he complained about the staging the show did, has no right to claim recovery of damages because he didn’t lose anything in not having his contract renewed. They don’t stop there. “Plaintiff lacks standing to bring a claim for “Unfair Business Practices” under Section 17200 on behalf of the general public, because he did not allege and cannot satisfy the requirements for a class action suit,” claims A&E’s lawyers. A&E wants legal fees from Hester for the case. A&E is represented by Kelli Sager, John LeCrone and Michelle Bussarakum of LA firm Davis Wright Tremaine. A hearing is set for February 22 in downtown LA on the request to strike.