Drama – it’s the one thing that reality television scouts are looking for, but when they find it, what exactly do contestants “give up” when they sign on the dotted line?
The hit series Bachelor in Paradise has recently come under the spotlight, after allegations of sexual misconduct briefly halted the filming of its fourth season. After an internal investigation, however, it was found that there was no wrongdoing.
You can read all about that hot mess here.
Now, CNNMoney has obtained a contract that contestants of the show must sign before they see them dollar bills:
After reviewing parts of the contract provided to her by CNNMoney, Nicole Page, a New York-based entertainment attorney at Reavis Parent, said that it meant, from the producers’ perspective, “I can basically take your image and do whatever I want with it and I own it and you have no recourse.”
Contracts like these are common in reality TV, she said. They “have been around since reality TV began,” she added.
But get this bag of garbage: If you happen to be a diehard fan of the show, here are some scenes that weren’t what they seemed:
Remember the episode of “Bachelor in Paradise” when Clare finally lost it and turned to a raccoon as a confidant? She later revealed that she was actually talking to a producer.
Or when Clare was on “The Bachelor” and she and Juan Pablo took a late-night swim in the ocean and something definitely happened? In a later interview, Clare contended that, actually, nothing happened.
You see, contestants sign away to producers “the right to change, add to, take from, edit, translate, reformat or reprocess… in any manner Producer may determine in its sole discretion”.
Once producers have done all the editing, contestants then understand that their “actions and the actions of others displayed in the Series may be disparaging, defamatory, embarrassing or of an otherwise unfavourable nature and may expose me to public ridicule, humiliation, or condemnation”.
So, in summary, if you get picked to be on the show:
You’ll need to sign a contract that allows the producers of the show to do nearly anything they want to you and your reputation — including filming you naked, airing the details of any part of your life they think is relevant, or flat-out lying about you and things you’ve done. And you’ll have to agree that the producers are not liable for almost anything that happens to you in the course of filming, whether you’re injured, suffer emotional trauma, catch an STD — or, in the words of the contract, subject to “unwelcome/unlawful contact or other interaction among participants.”
So why would people sign their reputation away so quickly? Legal analyst Joey Jackson puts it down to pressure:
“When people want to enter into a show and they see fame and fortune, stardom, they aren’t going to take it to a lawyer and negotiate with the company because the show will be like, ‘There are 13,000 other people who will do this”.”
“It’s not a two-sided contract,” Jackson said. “A contract is supposed to be what they call ‘at arms length,’ which means there is leverage on both sides and it’s freely entered into and freely negotiated. But this is clearly a contract that is one-sided … I absolutely see there being major concerns with the manner in which the contract is drafted. I think there are significant arguments to be made for an alleged victim, that there are reasons to believe they could have success.”
But I bet you would still sign, wouldn’t you?
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