EXCLUSIVE: She may be the original voice of Doc McStuffins but Kiara Muhammad wants an accounting autopsy performed on Disney on where the merchandising money she says she’s owned is. In a breach of contract complaint filed today in L.A. Superior Court, the actress from the Disney Junior show alleges that despite the widespread use of her voice and likeness from the first two and a half seasons of the animated series “defendants have failed to compensate plaintiff at the rate of two and one-half (2.5%) of net merchandising receipts.”
While no specific amounts are mentioned in terms of damages and other remuneration, the jury trial seeking action (read it here) says that the “dispute in the instant matter is in excess of $250,000.” ifIf the Doc McStuffins merch in stores and online is any indication, the money involved here could be quite a bit more than $250,000. Represented by Timothy A. Hall of the Encino-based Law Offices of Hall & Lin, Muhammad and her mother/guardian Anitra Muhammad are also seeking waiting time penalties against Disney Character Voices and Studio City-based Studiopolis, Inc for repeatedly not paying her within a timely fashion for the animated children’s series. Disney had no response to the lawsuit when contacted by Deadline.
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Though a huge success for Disney Junior, Doc McStuffins was literally a day-by-day gig for its star Muhammad. First employed for the role of the magic stethoscope-wielding toy fixing 6-year old Dottie “Doc” McStuffins back in October 2010, Muhammad was hired at the beginning of each session and fired at the end of each day of voice-over work she did for the show’s first two and a half seasons. Reminiscent of the eventually settled Dora The Explorer lawsuit by its lead voice actress, the now 16-year old was also paid a flat fee of $5,000 for the use of her voice recordings from late 2010 though October 2012 for Doc McStuffins merchandise.
The Chris Nee created Doc McStuffins debuted on March 17, 2012 on Disney Junior and Disney Channelwith its first season running to May 3 2013. The second season of the 11-minute per episode Brown Bag Films produced show premiered on September 6, 2013 and ran until September 12, 2015, along with a somewhat concurrent Season 2.5. Muhammad, who has also appeared on non-animated shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm and Ray Donovan, left the show before its as yet unaired third season.
You can understand why.
“On several occasions, Plaintiff proposed that both parties to agree to an employment agreement, which cover multiple days of employment in lieu of the repetitive single-day employments, however, the Defendants, denied each of Plaintiff’s requests, so that at any time they could replace her with a different voice actor, if they so chose,” today’s 3-claim complaint states. However, come Season 2, Muhammad did get a bigger slice of the McStuffins money with a new agreement for “exclusive merchandising and tie-up rights” – at least in theory.
Having also recently shown up on that other big Disney Junior hit Sofia The First, Muhammad not onlu alleges that she has never been paid the 2.5% of net merch receipts for Doc McStuffins Season 2 and 2.5. but also claims she has not been provided with “an accounting of the merchandise that makes use of Plaintiff’s recorded voice.”
Kiara Muhammad is repped by her father’s Sun Valley-based The Polygon Group.
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