A California court recently held that an allegedly fake reality television show can be an expression of free speech that warrants protection under the First Amendment.
The plaintiff, Dave Hester, was a cast member for three seasons on A&E’s hit reality show Storage Wars. The show centers around the lives of a handful of bidders who compete in auctions for abandoned self-storage lockers across the country. The rules of the show are simple: the lockers are up for grabs to the highest bidder, but each prospective bidder may only look at the locker from the outside—which means that no one is allowed to probe through the inner contents of the storage unit. The show's talent—Hester and several other storage bidders—are portrayed with robust, outlandish personalities that cause them to get into frequent disputes with one another on-air, creating the perfect conflict-riddled brew for prime reality television.
The cast members of Storage Wars are not strangers to legal drama. Even Hester's infamous bidding technique, which consists of hollering out a loud "YUUUP!" has been under legal dispute. This time, however, one of Hester's legal claims against the show's network and production company was SLAPPed down in an order granted by the Superior Court of Los Angeles. read more »