In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday, Marathon Productions, the company that produces America’s Got Talent, is being sued by a woman referred to as "Jane Doe" over the treatment of her daughter "Mary Doe" by the show's host Tyra Banks.
On March 19, the young contestant and her father performed a duet of a song they wrote about motherhood which included a mention of "Mary"'s birth, as well as the "bond among the members of her family." The suit maintains that the duo were "publicly humiliated" by the AGT judges and some audience members; however, that paled in comparison to what allegedly occurred offstage.
According to the lawsuit, Banks "physically manipulated and verbally abused Mary." The AGT host "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." The ordeal left the young contestant "traumatized and [she] became deeply depressed."
A few weeks later, the parents reached out to America's Got Talent, and requested that the show not televise any footage of their performance or their daughter's reaction. Marathon Productions not only "acknowledged Mary’s emotional distress," but they agreed to avoid airing her segment out of fear of causing "further emotional distress." The suit alleges that the show "maintained that they will exploit all footages of Jane and her husband and that they will not air those footages in their entirety."
The suit is claiming intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress along with civil battery and civil assault.