There are very few places that television cameras—especially reality show cameras—have never been. Thanks to smaller technology and shrinking taboos, we’ve seen stuff ranging from the furthest reaches of the solar system, to the darkest depths of Jimmy Kimmel’s ass. But regardless of our general relaxing of standards on this particular subject, there are still a few basic rules that have been firmly locked in place: Like, you still have to get permission if you want to film and broadcast someone giving birth.
That’s the takeaway from a new lawsuit being lodged against Bravo tonight, slamming the network for filming a woman in the middle of the birthing process, even after she denied them permission and asked them to stop. Per Variety, the woman in question is Alexandra Trent, who served as a surrogate for designer Jeff Lewis, star of the network’s long-running house-flipping reality series Flipping Out. Trent answered a classified ad from Lewis and his partner, Gage Edward, in 2015, eventually giving birth to their daughter in 2016. The episodes in question aired last year, but Trent only learned about them recently, in the midst of a professional conversation that she presumably wasn’t expecting to involve the phrase “pixelated vagina.”
As it turns out, after Trent denied the show’s producers the option to film her giving birth—having reportedly been uncomfortable with the reality TV gig in the first place, and only agreeing to appear on camera for ultrasound appointments as a way to promote surrogacy—they supposedly decided to hide behind a curtain in the birthing room and film her anyway. (Including allegedly filming her genitals as the baby was being born.) While looking up clips of herself, Trent also learned about some of the reality-TV-friendly (but actual-human-being-who-bore-your-child-unfriendly) comments that Lewis made during the episode, including a line about how, “If I was a surrogate, and I had known there was going to be an audience, I probably would have waxed.” Cool, cool, cool.
Anyway, Trent is suing the shit out of them, seeking damages for unlawful recording, invasion of privacy, and fraud.