Reality shows are accused all the time of being fake, but an assault and battery complaint filed today against Spike TV’s Bar Rescue might have gotten a bit too real for all concerned. A Vegas doctor is alleging that he was set up by the production company to hit on host Jon Taffer’s wife and then attacked by the bar and nightlife expert for doing so. In the 4-claim jury trial filing (read it here) today in LA Superior Court, Dr. Paul Wilkes is seeking general, actual and punitive damages as well as medical and legal expenses, pain and suffering and “other and further relief as the Court many deem just and proper” from the February 11, 2013, incident. The doctor is suing Taffer; his wife Nicole, who also is on the show; and Bongo LLC, a limited liability company of producer 3 Ball Productions. Wilkes, who is part owner of the Sin City bar that used to be known as the Sand Dollar, “has suffered and continues to suffer severe emotional distress which results in physical manifestations including but not limited to migraine headaches, nausea, vomiting, night terrors, crying spells, severe depression and anxiety attacks,” says the filing of the on-camera dust-up that saw Taffer punch the doctor in the jaw, among other things. Portions of the incident were seen on the show’s July 7 Season 3 broadcast entitled “Don’t Mess With Taffer’s Wife” (watch a clip from the episode below).
The irony is that Wilkes was the one who got himself and his financially troubled bar on Bar Rescue by sending an email in November 2012 to the producers pitching his establishment as one Taffer could help turn around. When being filmed for an audition for the show, Wilkes says he took the advice of casting director Lauren Kalb of Metal Flowers to act “outlandish” to further his effort to get himself and the bar on the Spike TV show.
To that end, during the December 2012 filming, Wilkes and one of his biz partners shot their mouths off about going to strip bars. In subsequent meetings with Bongo employees including EP Tim Warren and especially story producer Al Rincones, Wilkes says he was encouraged to make “offensive comments about women” and act out for the cameras. All of which the good doctor did, including using his charms and anatomy pick-up lines on Nicole Taffer when she and a friend entered the Sand Dollar on February 11 last year. Wilkes claims that he was told Taffer wasn’t even in Vegas when his wife was in the bar. But unscripted being unscripted, Taffler was in fact outside in an SUV – though he supposedly was a bit in the dark as well, according to the detailed suit. “Taffer was unaware that Rincones directed Dr. Wilkes to make the offensive comments about women during filming of the casting tapes, or to hit on Mrs. Taffer,” says today’s complaint. “While watching the scene inside the SUV, Taffer called the control room and told a staff member to make sure there was a drink near the spot where he intended to confront Dr. Wilkes, so that he could throw it in Dr. Wilkes’ face,” the filing adds. In the end, with that and a whack to the head, Dr. Wilkes got much more than he expected — though he did get his bar on TV.
Justin Nash of Los Angeles and Deanna Diamond of Chicago are representing Wilkes in the suit.