A married pair of performers are suing the producers of America’s Got Talent, after claiming that new host Tyra Banks embarrassed and humiliated their daughter during their appearance on the show. The duo—identified only as John and Jane Doe, and whose daughter is ID’d as “Mary”—apparently sang a song about her during their audition, and were then encouraged to bring the girl with them when they went to L.A. to tape the show.
Producers apparently saw a fun ”kid embarrassed by her parents” angle to play here, but allegedly went a little overboard with it. The suit says Marathon Productions tried to enter into a contract with Mary, who’s a minor, without her parents’ consent; she was later asked to play along and pretend to be mortified by her mom and dad while Banks roasted them. (At one point, the America’s Next Top Model star apparently implied that Mary’s conception was an accident; we have no idea how you get to that point from “your song is bad,” but this new season of AGT sounds pretty nuts.) The suit also alleges that Banks “physically manipulated and verbally abused” their daughter, and is claiming intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and civil assault and battery
The suit doesn’t mention how old Mary is, which makes it hard to get a hold on how much of this is a legitimate case of the producers and host overstepping boundaries, and how much is a pair of performers who got roasted on TV, and are now trying to save face. In conversations with the Does, the show’s producers apparently agreed to cut out all the footage of Mary, but insisted on still airing the performance itself. According to the family, their daughter is now traumatized, and is “deeply depressed” over the prospect of the song airing.