A reality TV show is using a law that typically protects journalists in an effort to quash a subpoena requesting footage shot for the show. The New York Post reports that the show, A&E’s “Married at First Sight,” is invoking the shield law.
The show, which also airs on FYI, pairs strangers who agree to get married when they first meet. The couples then live together for a month, after which they decide whether to remain married or divorce.
A woman who appeared on the show has subpoenaed the footage in connection with a lawsuit in which she accuses the man she was paired with on the show of making death threats against her.
“Law office receptionist Jessica Castro, 30, has sued her ex Ryan De Nino, of Staten Island, in Queens Family Court for harassment, menacing and stalking,” the Post reports. “Castro’s attorney says audio tapes that caught De Nino on a live mic vowing, ‘She’s fucking dead. When I get back to Brooklyn, she’s fucking dead, this girl,’ is essential evidence for the Nov. 18 trial. He also wants the show’s staff to testify.”
The comments were allegedly made during production of a reunion show in May. De Nino has reportedly said on social media that he’s “disgusted” by the allegations against him.
An attorney for A&E calls the footage “newsgathering material” and says in a court filing: “All of these unpublished materials are protected against compelled disclosure by the reporters’ privilege.”
An attorney for Castro counters that the show consists of “choreographed, contrived vignettes.”