Ryan Seacrest seems to have never met a camera or microphone he didn’t like, but the American Idol host may be feeling a bit overexposed in a new intrusion and negligence lawsuit from a former America’s Next Top Model contestant.
In a multi-claim complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court late last week, Kiara Belen alleges that she was filmed in the nude for a 2017 episode of Shahs of Sunset without her consent.
“Further, comments made by a cast member during the scenes in which Ms. Belen appears objectified Ms. Belen in an offensive way,” the 12-page filing asserts of the incident, which occurred backstage at a 2016 LA Fashion Week runway show featuring Sunset cast member Golnesa “GG” Gharachedaghi, where seasoned model Belen was called a “bitch” by another cast member. In the “Hava Nagila, Hava Tequila” episode of the unscripted well-heeled show, the ANTM Cycle 19 runner-up was also captured on video changing in what she assumed was a “private dressing area” as the Bravo series’ cameras swirled around.
“The exposure of Ms. Belen’s nearly fully nude likeness is heightened due to the fact that at the time in which Ms. Belen was filmed while she was a few months pregnant with her daughter, and was dealing with the challenge of her body changing as a result, leading to a period of great insecurity,” the complaint (read it here) from James Bryant of The Cochran Firm California against Sunset producers Ryan Seacrest Productions, Ryan Seacrest Enterprises and NBCUniversal-owned cabler Bravo states. “The fact that Defendant exposed Ms. Belen’s pregnant nearly naked body to millions of viewers left Ms. Belen feeling completely violated.”
No strangers to investigations, Seacrest’s companies and reps did not respond to request for comment from Deadline. Bravo said it has no comment on the matter at the current time.
What’s left unsaid in Belen’s filing is whether there was any signage at the fashion show indicating that filming was being conducted, as is standard procedure in such public settings. Also it is surprising that a show with such a strong production pedigree wouldn’t have had everyone ink consent agreements, especially considering the circumstances of the backstage situation.
Submitted to the LASC docket on July 25, the suit against Seacrest’s companies and Bravo is seeking general, compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages as well as special damages “in excess of $100,000 according to proof at trial” for each of the five counts cited in the filing.
If this isn’t settled quickly, that trial may have still come and gone before we see more Shahs of Sunset. The Beverly Hills-based series concluded its seventh season in November 2018 and there is no word if a Season 8 is in the Bravo cards. Having just ended its 17th season and the second to run on the Disney-owned ABC, the Seascrest fronted American Idol is certainly set to return next spring for another run, when this suit may or may not be a thing of the past.