A Storage Wars lawsuit threatens to damage the integrity of one of A&E's most loved shows, as a former cast member of the show claims in a lawsuit filed Tuesday, that some of the valuables found hidden in abandoned lockers have been added by producers to deceive viewers.
David Hester is seeking more than $750,000 in his wrongful termination, breach of contract and unfair business practices lawsuit, Yahoo reports. A&E Television Network declined comment, citing the pending lawsuit, which claims that "A&E regularly plants valuable items or memorabilia." The show follows buyers in a gambling format, as they bid on abandoned storage lockers, hoping that the one they pick is full of valuable treasures. The unique selling point of the show is the unknown; as buyers are supposed to have no idea what they are buying, so the idea that the show's very premise is contrived, and essentially false, will take away a large portion of its charm.
The lawsuit alleges entire units have been staged and the practice may violate a federal law intended to prevent viewers from being deceived when watching a show involving intellectual skills. Hester also claims that his complaints were taken seriously initially, with the items being removed when he showed concerns, but that the practice soon continued. Nielsen Co. has ranked "Storage Wars" among cable television's top-ranked shows several times since its 2010 debut.