Stacey Stillman Sues Survivor Producer & CBS Over Her "Orchestrated" Ouster From Survivor 1"
By Reality TV World staff, 02/06/2001
Man, is this woman EVER going to fade away, talk about trying to make the most of your 15 minutes... and they wonder where folks get their opinions of lawyers from...
USA Today reported today that Stacey Stillman, the former contestant on Survivor I, filed suit against Survivor's producer, Mark Burnett, claiming he engineered her ouster and "orchestrated" the show's outcome. In a 14-page lawsuit filed in San Francisco County Superior Court, Stacey Stillman — a practicing attorney — says producer Mark Burnett "improperly abused his relationships with the contestants." She says he persuaded two of them, Sean Kenniff and Dirk Been, to vote her off the show instead of Rudy Boesch in the series' third episode, "thereby rigging the contest." CBS also is named as a defendant.
Stillman alleges that Burnett wanted to keep Boesch, 72, in the cast, fearing criticism if the first three contestants to be removed also were the oldest. Boesch became one of four finalists for the $1 million prize, which was won by Richard Hatch.
"By picking and choosing who stays and who goes, that affects the alliances that form, and ultimately the outcome," Stillman told USA TODAY.
She says CBS violated federal law against game-show rigging that was expanded in the wake of the 1950s scandal over the NBC quiz show Twenty-One.
CBS denies the charges, which were first detailed last year by author Peter Lance in a book that said producers manipulated the show.
Asked whether Burnett influenced his vote, Kenniff said, "That never happened. He did say, 'Vote your conscience,' but I didn't feel that was coercion." A spokesman for Been declined to comment.
Stillman is seeking unspecified damages for prize money and lost wages, out-of-pocket costs and payment of CBS' profits from the show to a fund to be shared by viewers. She delayed the lawsuit, first asking CBS "to put me on a (reality) show that wasn't manipulated," and later sought a $5 million settlement. Both requests were rejected, a network executive says.