The 50-page complaint (read it here) was filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court by defendants including Jamison Hill, Pilar Olave, Jill Edelstein and Bekah Dinnerstein. Referred to in the suit as “the Afflicted Four,” they claim they were “duped by Plaintiffs into participating in a salacious reality television program that questioned the existence of their chronic illnesses and portrayed Plaintiffs as lazy, crazy, hypochondriacs and/or malingerers who were deserving of scorn and who in fact have received scorn and abuse because of Defendants’ cruel and duplicitous actions.”
Here is the Netflix logline for the seven-episode series that premiered a year ago: “Baffling symptoms. Controversial diagnoses. Costly treatments. Seven people with chronic illnesses search for answers — and relief.” Watch the trailer here.
The suit also lists Doc Shop Productions, series creator Dan Partland and other producers as defendants.
The plaintiffs claim the producers pitched Afflicted to them as “a ‘Netflix documentary series’ that would help spread understanding of rare, but very real, chronic illnesses.” The suit also alleges that they asked the producers whether their illnesses — which range from chronic fatigue syndrome to myalgic encephalomyelitis and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis — would be portrayed as psychosomatic.
“In response, and at the behest of Defendants Partland and Netflix, the Afflicted Four were assured … that Afflicted would be a serious Netflix documentary, with science and interviews with experts in the field and that Afflicted would show the Afflicted Four’s lives and struggles with their illnesses through a ‘compassionate lens.'”
Instead, they claim, the defendants used “deceptive and unethical tricks to suggest that the Afflicted Four’s illnesses, which are documented by mainstream medical professionals, are “all in their heads.”
Attorneys Randall S. Leff and Russell M. Selmont of Ervin Cohen & Jessup in Beverly Hills are representing the plaintiffs in the case, which seeks unspecified damages and demands a jury trial.
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