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Is Reality TV Causing Injury?

By 6 November 2019Compensation Law
Is reality TV causing injury

Reality TV Producers have an ever-increasing battle to out-compete their rival networks. But how far will these reality TV shows go to battle for ratings?

Channel 7 recently found out exactly what happens with their show ‘House Rules’.

During filming of this show in November and December 2016, Ms Nicole Prince was paid $500.00 per week, plus a $500.00 per week allowance.

During filming Ms Prince recalled feeling harassed and bullied. She said about her time on the show:

  • It was not only condoned by the producer, but it was aggravated even encouraged by them.
  • During every camera interview both myself and Fiona complained on film that we were being subjected to isolation, bullying and harassment by the other teams.
  • On one occasion I witnessed Fiona be physically assaulted. When I complained to Channel Seven, I was then threatened that Fiona and I would be portrayed negatively.
  • True to their threatening words, Channel Seven portrayed Fiona and I as bullies in the episode (edited by Channel Seven) featuring our team which went to air on or around 17 April 2017. After our episode was aired I was subjected to online abuse on the Channel Seven Facebook page, including receiving threats of serious physical assault. I have been fearful for my safety ever since.
  • Since our episode and program aired I have not been able to obtain work and have been informed this was due to how I was portrayed as a bully. I am no longer offered interviews for jobs and work, which before my work injury I did not have any trouble obtaining interviews and successfully getting the work and job. I feel devastated and worthless about the loss of my career and working life.
  • After my episode aired I wanted to kill myself and I started drinking more alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate my injury.

Ms Prince lodged a workers compensation claim in New South Wales which, after some hurdles, was ultimately accepted.

The Commission found that Ms Prince did suffer a psychological injury because of her time on House Rules, and Channel Seven’s failure to take action to protect Ms Prince after airing of the show.

This was a win for Ms Prince, but where will this lead injury claims in the future?

Coincidentally, news is abuzz with Channel 9’s show, ‘The Block’. Allegedly, the contestants Mitch and Mark have threatened to quit the competition on its last week amid claims of bullying. It is difficult to assess whether this is a genuine concern, or just reality TV hype to get the audience excited, but producers of all reality TV shows should take heed of Ms Prince’s circumstances and consider what they might be putting their contestants through.

One can only imagine what the contestants of shows like Love Island, or The Bachelor are having to deal with, and whether they are being properly supported during filming and after the show goes to air.

If you have sustained injury on a reality TV show, you may have a right to make a common law claim for damages. There are strict timeframes for lodgement of your Notice of Claim under the legislation. Your claim could be rejected if you lodge outside the timeframes. Early lodgement of your claim will assist in early access to treatment and rehabilitation if required.

Regardless of what steps are taken, it is essential that court proceedings are started within three (3) years of the incident. Generally speaking after this date you will not be able to bring an action for damages in relation to this accident, however, you should take legal advice in this regard.

For more information or assistance for bullying or harassment complaints call one of our injury lawyers on 13 58 28.