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When someone gets naked on a reality television show, exactly how naked is he or she agreeing to get? It might seem like a pretty simple question, but thanks to a $10 million lawsuit, it’s now a whole lot more complicated.
Earlier this year, 28-year-old model Jessie Nizewitz decided to appear on the VH1 reality program Dating Naked. During the shoot, she wrestled around with her date and seemed to have a pretty good time. When the episode aired, however, it wasn’t exactly as censored as she expected. More specifically, the show mistakenly missed the censor bars on a few frames, exposing both her vagina and her anus to the jackals on social media. They, of course, freeze framed, rewound and did what they needed to do in order to screengrab the picture and pass it around (NSFW).
Following the airing of the episode, Nizewitz was reportedly inundated with a slew of messages from friends and family. Unfortunately, she never heard from the one person she wanted to. According to Entertainment Weekly, the man she’d been dating for about a month apparently hasn’t called her since, though it’s debatable whether or not that was a result of her vagina shot or her wrestling around naked with another dude on a reality television program.
Here’s a portion of the official statement she just released via her attorney after she hit VH1 owner Viacom with the $10 million lawsuit…
“Although I went on this show knowing that I would be nude while taping it I was told that my private parts would be blurred for TV. If you watch an episode, you will see that the blur actually makes it less revealing than a bikini would. Obviously, I did not expect the world to see my private parts, this is not what I anticipated or what any other contestants on the show anticipated.”
So, here’s where things get morally complicated. From Nizewitz’s position, she went on the show expecting censorship standards to maintain her modesty. Given the show airs on VH1, that’s an understandable perspective, but it may not be one she’s legally entitled to. As of right now, VH1 is OK with showing butts. Therefore, Nizewitz’s butt was shown during the broadcast. If the network were to decide in the future it was OK with showing boobs, wouldn’t producers be allowed to re-edit the footage since they technically own it? I would think so, unless it was stated clearly in her contract that they would blur out her vagina, anus and boobs at all times.
Believe it or not, this case could have very wide-reaching reprecussions for how nudity is treated on reality television from this point forward. We’ll keep you updated as it moves toward a resolution.