David Hester strikes back at A&E
'Storage Wars' star says network's First Amendment claims have no merit
By Tim Kenneally
Former "Storage Wars" star David Hester has taken a shot back at A&E, which airs the show, saying that the network's claims to First Amendment protection has no merit in his lawsuit against it.
In papers filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, Hester's lawyers opposed A&Es motion to strike the lawsuit. In its anti-SLAPP motion to strike, A&E argued that it enjoys First Amendment protections. In their response last week, Hester's attorneys, Martin Singer and Allison Hart, argued that those protections don't apply in this suit.
Hester, who filed suit against A&E Networks and Original Productions in December, claims that he was fired from the show after complaining that the reality show is staged. The lawsuit outlines those allegations in detail, claiming that the show's producers plant valuable items in storage lockers, which competitors then bid on, supposedly without knowing what's inside them.
Hester went so far as to cite plastic surgery "that one of the female cast members underwent in order to create more 'sex appeal' for the show."
The answer to the motion to strike alleges that A&E violates the Communications Act of 1934 -- specifically, 47 U.S.C section 509, which states that a person shall not "supply any contestant in a purportedly bona fide contest of intellectual knowledge or intellectual skill any special and secret assistance whereby the outcome of such contest will be in whole or in part prearranged or predetermined."
As such, Hester's suit claims, the defendants aren't entitled to First Amendment protections in this case.
"A&E argues that because the Series is an expressive work entitled to protection under the First Amendment, any and all activities associated with the production and distribution of the Series must also be protected by the First Amendment. That is not the law ... Illegal conduct, such as Defendants' staging and rigging the outcome of the auctions shown on the Series in violation of 47 U.S.C section 509, is not entitled to protection under the First Amendment," the opposition filing reads.
Hester's attorneys also cite a press release allegedly issued by A&E, stating, "There is no staging involved. The items uncovered in the storage units are the actual items featured on the show."
Likewise, A&E's press release denying that the series is staged constitutes commercial speech, and because the statements in the press release are false, the press release is also not protected by the First Amendment," the opposition reads.
A spokesman for A&E told TheWrap that the network does not comment on pending litigation.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.
"OH MY GOD" Now as you watch the Reality Shows, count how many times you hear
"OH MY GOD".
David Hester is a big time liar. His store was here in my hometown and let me tell you it was a BIG TIME FAILURE! His prices were sky high for BROKEN items. He sold things like USED funeral urns for people's pets and relatives. He actually thought he could get $4 for a box of the wax used by manicurists - and OPEN box mind you that only had one of the original pounds of wax in there. Chipped and cracked dishware you could buy brand new for less in the mall.
I told him that it was tasteless to sell used urns and he should lower his prices because they were ridiculous. (I said it much more polite than that of course.) He cursed me out.
RTR was going broke before the show. NO ONE shopped there. He was trying to sell the place because it was nothing buy over priced junk.
Now his auction house is in the neighborhood where my brother lives. Guess what? It's going broke! No one buys from him.
Every single word out of Hester's mouth is a lie. I wouldn't believe him if he said the sky was blue.
I watch the show, & dont quite get why he would complain even if they did rig it. Think he usually makes the most money on the units he gets anyway lol.