A new suit filed against in Los Angeles Tuesday by a contestant on the forthcoming season of America’s Got Talent alleging that new judge Tyra Banks “humiliated” her daughter on set and “physically manipulated and abused” her, too.
Deadline reports that the suit was filed against the production company behind America’s Got Talent by the contestant, a woman identified only as Jane Doe, who claims that her daughter was traumatized by the alleged physical and verbal abuse meted out by Banks on set.
As per the suit, Jane Doe and her husband were performing an original song about motherhood during a March 19 taping which celebrates the birth of their daughter —referred to as Mary Doe in the lawsuit—and celebrates the “bond among members of her family.” Despite this heartwarming tale, Banks, the other judges and some of the audience members were less than enthused.
As the performance went on, Banks allegedly expressed her displeasure with what was happening on stage by taking it out on Mary. She reportedly “physically manipulated and verbally abused” the girl. From the suit, emphasis ours.
“Banks shook Mary’s shoulder, pulled Mary’s hair back and physically manipulated Mary. … Mary did not stop Banks’ conduct because Mary was fearful. Banks also insinuated that Mary was accidentally conceived, made fun of the performance and ridiculed [the song] in front of Mary, all in front of active cameras that were filming Mary. After the performance, Banks asked Mary to describe, in front of active and filming cameras, her opinion about Jane and her husband after they were publicly ridiculed by AGT. … As a result of her negative experience from AGT and Defendants’ abusive treatment, Mary was traumatized and became deeply depressed.”
A few weeks after the incident, the plaintiffs in the case asked that none of the footage of their performance or their kid’s reaction to said performance be used, citing further “emotional distress.” The producers agreed not to feature their daughter, but “maintained that they will exploit all footages of Jane and her husband and that they will not air those footages in their entirety.”
In an interview with Natalie Morales on Today that aired Monday, longtime judge Simon Cowell said of his new co-star, “I’ve seen a completely different side of her...funny, goofy..she’s a little bit of a diva.” When pressed further, he clarified that her “diva” behavior didn’t necessarily entail allegedly telling a young girl that she was conceived by accident, but conceded that it was something else entirely: “I mean it as a compliment, by the way,” he said. “It’s that sort of presence when you walk into a room.” That’s one way to put it, I guess.
The suit seeks a jury trial and is claiming “intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress along with civil battery and civil assault.”