America’s Next Top Lawsuit

For twenty-one seasons, model mogul Tyra Banks has produced and hosted America’s Next Top Model, a reality show competition where women (and in the most recent cycles, men) vie for the title for which the show is named and a large modeling prize. The show spun off a successful franchise of modeling shows internationally, including Britain’s Next Top Model, Asia’s Next Top Model, and Africa’s Next Top Model.

In 2011, Banks broke the mold of the show, where traditionally she plucks model hopefuls from relative obscurity. In the show’s 17th season, Banks cast non-winning models from previous season to create an “All-Star” cycle. One of those models, Angelea Preston, previously competed in Cycle 14 and placed 3rd.del mogul Tyra Banks has produced and hosted America’s Next Top Model, a reality show competition where women (and in the most recent cycles, men) vie for the title for which the show is named and a large modeling prize. The show spun off a successful franchise of modeling shows internationally, including Britain’s Next Top Model, Asia’s Next Top Model, and Africa’s Next Top Model.

Angelea Preston made it to the top 3 again, and this time, won. However, in an odd turn of events and an unusual re-filming of the finale; Banks announced during the episode’s air that Preston had been disqualified. At the time, the reason was not disclosed nor was it announced that Preston was the original winner.

The grand prize, consisting of a $100,000 Cover Girl contract and a spread in Vogue Italia, went to 30 year old Lisa D’Amato who was previously on Cycle 5.

Several months later, the truth came out. Preston had been disqualified for working as an escort for a year, previous to the show. The former winner asserted that she had disclosed that information in confidence to producers before the show started filming. From there, Preston alleges, the gossip spread like wild fire to cast and crew.

The CW Network, who airs the show, said Preston had violated their contract with her escort past. Preston argues that her escort life was not unlawful since she was not a prostitute, and her year of employment with the service was previous to her renewed participation in the show.

Now, Preston has filed a lawsuit against Banks, the CW Network, the studio, and several producers, claiming that she was the real winner of the cycle and is therefore entitled to the prize package. Preston is alleging breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress and violations of the Labor Code.

For Labor Code violations, Preston is alleging that the model contestants were subject to terrible working conditions, sometimes working more than 12 hours straight without a meal and rest break.

Preston is demanding $3 million in damages.

Source: CBS LA