Sally Hessnice may have not been judged worthy to go very far on The X-Factor by Simon Cowell and gang two years ago but the singer isn’t ready to exit stage left just yet. She filed a multi-claim complaint today against producers FremantleMedia North America, Cowell’s Syco Television and Blue Orbit Productions for more than $2 million in damages. Hessnice claims that her audition performance shown on the Fox show back in September 2013 was strategically altered “to create a false and negative portrayal.”
“Defendants intentionally altered Plaintiff s vocal performance, audience reaction, and judge reaction in order to deceive the public, in violation of 47 U.S. Code § 509(a)(3), which prohibits engaging in any artifice or scheme for the purpose of prearranging the outcome of a purportedly bona fide contest, with intent to deceive the viewing public,” says the jury trial complaint filed in L.A. Superior Court by attorney Steven T. Lowe of L.A.’s Lowe & Associates (read it here). The result is not only did Hessnice not progress very far on the show despite four audition attempts from March to May 2013 but she suffered “shame, mortification and hurt feelings” as well as “harm to her reputation, which is vital to her occupation as a professional singer.”
Even though The X-Factor was cancelled by Fox over a year ago, the plaintiff also wants an injunction against the performance in question being shown on “further broadcasts of …episode in which it appears” and taken off YouTube and other online sites. Of course, there is also in the allegations of performance altering a severe undermining of the unvarnished give it your best shot foundation of shows like X-Factor and how contestants get a chance at victory – if, in fact, an actual performance was changed.
In this case of emotional distress, defamation and gross negligence claims, Hessnice is also alleging that backstage during a March 2013 audition she was forced by Blue Orbit Productions’ employees to sign a personal release agreement that let them do whatever they wanted with footage of her. A consent that she now says isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. “Plaintiff’s consent was obtained by duress, undue influence, and mistake as to whether Defendants had the right to alter her actual performance to portray her in a false and negative light” – all of which makes it invalid under California law the complaint claims.
The defendants did not respond to attempts to contact them today about the complaint.