Jessie Nizewitz, a 28-year-old New York model and contestant on the VH1 show Dating Naked (trailer) has filed a $10 million lawsuit against VH1's operator Viacom claiming that the show flashed an un-blurred image of her crotch during a scene where she and a male suitor were playfully wrestling on a beach. According to Entertainment Weekly, Nizewitz was assured that her genitals would be blurred and since the footage was revealed, she claims that she has been "humiliated on social media."
In her lawsuit, Nizewitz claims uncensored images of her were passed around Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr after airing on VH1 and she is seeking recourse under a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Complaint states:
Plaintiff... was shocked, horrified and outraged to observe this intrusion into her privacy for all to see. ... Immediately Plaintiff became subject to ridicule by those watching. ... Plaintiff has suffered and continues to suffer extreme emotional distress, mental anguish, humiliation and embarrassment. ... Defendants knew or reasonably should have known that broadcasting an individual's vagina and anus on national cable television would cause substantial and severe emotional distress.
To recover under the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress, Nizewitz must establish that Viacom engaged in "extreme or outrageous conduct" and that its conduct actually caused Nizewitz "severe" emotional distress. Nizewitz must prove that the conduct was either intentional or known by Viacom that it would likely cause great emotional distress. In Nizewitz's case, she's alleging that Viacom and the show's producers kept her nude shot un-blurred either intentionally or recklessly. Towards that end, she is claiming that they knew (or should have known) that it might cause her emotional distress. While Nizewitz might not have to establish some physical medical condition associated with the emotional distress, as normally required, she will need to provide some substantial evidence of her emotional distress in order to convince a judge or jury that Viacom and the show's producers owe her $10 million. This standard is quantified by the intensity, duration and any physical manifestations of the distress. However, other factors including lack of productivity and acquaintances' testimony about a change in behavior can also be persuasive.