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Bachelor Producers Seek to Dismiss Discrimination Lawsuit


July 19, 2012
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Entertainment attorneyABC and the producers of The Bachelor are fighting back against the entertainment lawsuit filed by two would-be contestants. As we have previously discussed on this entertainment law blog, the lawsuit alleges that the show discriminates against minorities. In their motion to dismiss, the producers contend that they have not violated any laws. “This is not a case of racial discrimination,” the defendants argue. “Rather, this lawsuit is about Plaintiffs’ attempt to communicate their preferred message to the public by controlling the content and casting of Defendants’ television series.” The defendants offer three specific arguments for why the discrimination lawsuit should be dismissed: The First Amendment. “Television programming is core protected speech,” the producers argue. “Defendants’ expressive choices regarding both the message their programming conveys, and the individuals who convey it, are entitled to broad protection.” To support their arguments, the defendants point to a 1995 Supreme Court decision that determined that parade organizers could not be required to allow the Irish-American Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Group of Boston to participate. The Void for Vagueness Doctrine. The defendants also seek to capitalize on a recent Supreme Court decision that invalided FCC fines against two major television networks because they were not given advance notice about the agency’s indecency policies. As stated in the motion to dismiss, “[The] lack of concrete standards, known in advance, for the imposition of civil liability for allegedly discriminatory casting violates the void-for-vagueness doctrine because it deprives content creators such as Defendants of fair notice of what is, and is not, prohibited in the context of making casting decisions integral to the messages those creators intend to convey.” The Plaintiffs Cannot Prove Discrimination. The defendants’ last defense is a traditional motion to dismiss argument. The producers contend that the contestants will not be able to show sufficient facts that the casting decisions were motivated by racism. “Put simply, the mere fact that Plaintiffs were not selected for the lead role — from the multitude of individuals considered — does not establish that Defendants engaged in intentional race discrimination in casting for that series,” the motion states. Source: Hollywood Reporter As we have previously stated, this will be an interesting entertainment law case to watch, particularly given the novelty of the arguments raised by both parties. Please stay tuned for updates.