Tyra Banks has been accused of causing emotional distress to an America’s Got Talent contestant’s daughter in a lawsuit filed against the production company of the TV show on Tuesday (23May17).
The woman, identified as Jane Doe in the complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, is suing Marathon Productions after claiming her daughter Mary was left “traumatized” by her interaction with the TV host and former model at a taping in March.
According to court filings obtained by the New York Daily News, Doe, a singer-songwriter and her husband John Doe, a guitarist, producer and recording engineer, flew out to Los Angeles to film their audition for the show, which included an original song she wrote about her daughter, Mary, which she asked them to perform.
Doe says she and her husband were “humiliated” by the judges and the audience, who criticized the song.
She also alleged that Tyra, 43, insisted Mary look “embarrassed and annoyed” by the performance, shook the girl’s shoulder, pulled her hair back and tried to “physically manipulate her.”
“Banks also insinuated that Mary was accidentally conceived, made fun of the performance and ridiculed (the) song in front of Mary,” according to the lawsuit.
Reality show contestants typically sign waivers acknowledging they may be subjected to ridicule and humiliation. However, the suit alleges that Marathon Productions got Mary to sign a contract without her parents’ knowledge or consent.
After the contestant complained, the company communicated that it would not feature Mary in the broadcast. But the couple’s request that the entire performance not be aired was denied.
The lawsuit is claiming intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, as well as civil battery and civil assault, alleging that Mary was left “traumatized and became deeply depressed.”
Representatives for Tyra and America’s Got Talent have not yet responded to requests for comment.