Jamie Kennedy: Reality Bites Back
Fri May 16, 1:30 PM ET
By Lia Haberman
Jamie Kennedy's about to get punked.
The WB player, who carries out pranks on unsuspecting members of the public, has been slapped with a lawsuit by an angry victim of his Candid Camera-style reality show.
Thea Robinson claims she was the butt of "humilitainment" when she inadvertently wound up as a unwitting participant in an episode of The Jamie Kennedy (news) Experiment.
According to court documents filed Thursday, Kennedy's freshman series "systematically defrauds and deceives members of the public who are audiotaped and videotaped without their knowledge or consent…for commercial gain."
The suit, which also fingers Warner Bros. TV for fraud, unfair business practices, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress among other charges, seeks unspecified monetary damages for Robinson.
Attempts to reach the show's producers were unsuccessful.
A little background info on how Kennedy lured the 35-year-old San Fernando Valley resident into his celluloid web of deceit, per the suit:
Last July, Robinson registered with a "large and reputable" temp agency. In September, she got a call from the agency to tell her about a potential opening at a Woodland Hills restaurant.
Desperate for full-time work and "excited about this opportunity," according to the suit, Robinson arranged an interview with the restaurant manager--better known as professional prankster Jamie Kennedy.
Soon after the interview began, Kennedy got into an arguement with two of the restaurant's patrons, who, in reality, were actors-for-hire, according to court documents. The fight quickly turned physical, launching "table settings and glassware" into the air and causing the plaintiff to worry " for her personal safety."
When Robinson tried to leave a restaurant security guard wouldn't let her go, telling her she would have to identify the perps, even as she protested that she didn't know anyone involved.
Robinson then realized she had forgotten her résumé and returned to the dining room to retrieve the paperwork when she saw two people who "looked injured." Once again, she turned to leave but "everyone in the room burst into applause and laughter. Some people shouted 'You've been X'ed!'" states the suit.
Unamused to find out she was the star of this hidden-camera Experiment episode, Robinson claims she was in a "complete state of shock" while she called her husband to tell him about the interview gone horribly wrong.
According to Robinson's attorney, Gloria Allred, her client has "preexisting health problems that make her particularly susceptible…to this type of victimization."
As such, Robinson "has suffered confusion, paranoia, depression, anxiety and fear of crowds and unfamiliar situations," since the incident six months ago and can no longer perform "everyday tasks such as driving, housework and exercise."
Allred is launching an all-out war to put this reality series and others like it out of business. She's seeking an injunction against Experiment to "stop this practice of waging sneak attacks on innocent members of the public…If we prevail, we will establish a precedent and other 'reality shows' may have to stop this practice too," said the legal eagle.
"Their only purpose for such 'humilitainment' is to increase ratings, in order to make a profit by charging more to advertisers," said Allred, adding, "It is time that such shows stop using members of the public as guinea pigs for their so-called 'experiments.' "
Given its unpredictable nature, this type of reality series isn't the first to spawn a lawsuit. In February a woman sued the Sci-Fi Channel and producers of the net's new reality series Scare Tactics after being chased by a by a faux space alien on her way to a glitzy Hollywood party. Similar suits have been launched against other prank series, including Pax Television's new version of Candid Camera and MTV series Jackass and Punk'd.
Meanwhile, news of the suit comes just days after the WB renewed Kennedy's ambush-TV series for next season. The thesp, who starred in the first two installments of Scream, has turned his show into a feature vehicle. Kennedy's recent movie release, Malibu's Most Wanted, was based on B-rad, a character he developed on the WB series.