Life hasn't been such a trip these days for Bristol Palin and her reality TV show "Life's A Tripp." Palin is now being sued allegedly because her “deliberate, malicious and despicable” actions caused emotional distress to the plaintiff, the suit says.
In the new lawsuit, filed on June 28, the plaintiff, talent manager Stephen Hanks, is seeking unnamed compensatory damages, emotional distress damages, and punitive damages.
Hanks first filed the lawsuit in U.S. federal court in Los Angeles on June 13 after Lifetime aired promos featuring him and Palin in a widely publicized heated verbal spat at a West Hollywood bar, Reuters reported. Hanks says the incident was filmed in September 2011 without his permission and demanded that Lifetime stop airing the footage.
Palin, who rose to fame because of a teen pregnancy when her mother was running for U.S. vice president in 2008 as a Republican, had just been thrown from the bar's famed mechanical bull when Hanks, who was a customer there, screamed, "Did you ride Levi like that?! Your mother's a w*ore!"
A camera crew caught the whole thing as Bristol, at first still smiling, marched over to confront the guy, who later proudly identified himself as Stephen Hanks. As transcribed by E! online:
"What'd you say?" she asked him. "Your mother's the f--king devil," Hanks exclaimed. "She lives, she breaths," he retorted, when Bristol asked what Sarah Palin had done wrong.
"You want her dead?" she asked. Hanks offered, "If there is a hell...she will be there...She's evil."
Then Bristol asked, "Is it because you're a homosexual?" Hanks said, "Pretty much," to which Bristol asserted, "And that's why you hate her."
When he asked why she thought he was homosexual, Bristol said, "Because I can tell you are. That's a nice wife you've got there," she added, gesturing to the man next to him.
But Hanks dropped his federal lawsuit when he "learned of additional defendants,” only to immediately file the case in state court.
According to Deadline, now being sued are Palin, Lifetime’s parent company A&E Television Network, the series' production company Associated Television International, and Life’s A Tripp exec producer David McKenzie.
In the 15-page civil complaint, Hanks alleges that because of Palin's "deliberate, malicious and despicable" actions he has "suffered harm to his profession and occupation and expended money as a result of the statements."
Palin later told celebrity magazine In Touch that the bar incident with was one of the reasons she had decided to leave Los Angeles and return to her home in Wasilla, Alaska.
The turning point, Bristol tells In Touch in an exclusive interview, came last September, when — in a much-reported episode — she was accosted at the Saddle Ranch in LA by a man who hurled nasty insults at her about her famous family. After footage of the altercation went viral, Bristol, 21, realized she was done with showbiz — and that she’d never felt totally at home in the Lower 48. “I wasn’t really into the Hollywood thing,” she says. “After that, I just realized that I was over it. I was ready to come home.”
Hanks claims in his lawsuit, however, that Palin had bought a new house in Alaska in July 2011, and that she had defamed him by publicly blaming their encounter for her decision to leave Los Angeles.
This is the second lawsuit filed against Life's A Tripp in the past month. Her former Dancing With the Stars castmate Kyle Massey, brother Christopher and mother Angela have also sued the producers of Bristol Palin: Life's A Tripp, charging that the Masseys came up with the concept and started shooting a series that involved them and Bristol, only to be "erased", E! News online reports.
Unlike Hanks, Bristol was not named as a defendant in the 31-page lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court against Associated Television International, Helping Hands LLC and David McKenzie.
Again, according to E! online:
"It is unfortunate that after months of trying to resolve this matter the professional way, we were left with no other course of action than to take legal action to protect ourselves," Angela Massey said in a statement. "If you read the entire complaint, and particularly pages 8-11, you will see how we created the show, registered the show and did all the leg work to bring this idea to TV and to the defendants, who stole our concept."
As if the lawsuits weren't bad enough for the 21-year-old single mom, since its poor debut on June 19, Life's A Tripp has been booted from Lifetime's prime time schedule.
Lifetime will show repeats of Dance Moms instead, E! News online reports.
According to the show's website, "Life's a Tripp" chronicles her everyday life as a single mother living under intense media scrutiny that comes from her lineage as the daughter of former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
The show that billed itself as a unique look at the difficult decisions Bristol has to make for her relationships, career and family, debuted to just 726,000 viewers during its premiere showing before stumbling, with 586,000 viewers tuning in during its second episode, Detroit Free Press reported.