5 Shocking Times ‘America’s Got Talent’ Was Sued

Corey Cesare
Pablo Urdiales Antelo
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NBC

Several lawsuits have been filed against America’s Got Talent by former contestants, audience members, and regular members of the public. Here are all of the cases against the show to date in detail.


1. Tyra Banks Allegedly ‘Physically Manipulated’ a Young Girl

In 2017, a lawsuit was filed against Tyra Banks and the AGT producers. The legal document filer remained anonymous throughout the case, being references as Jane Doe. The filer claims that Tyra Banks acted in an ‘abusive’ manner to Jane’s young daughter, Mary. Jane performed on AGT with her husband and claimed that she was ridiculed by the audience and judges. Furthermore, Mary allegedly had her shoulder shaken, hair pulled back and was subject to the insinuation by Banks. Jane also claimed that the host made fun of the performance, despite the personal connection Mary had with the song.

A few days later, AGT producers said they were going to dismiss the lawsuit. They explained that Banks has been a great addition to the series with her maternal nurturing spirit and high energy. Tyra Banks didn’t last long as the host on AGT and this lawsuit could have played into that.

2. Wheelchair Death on AGT Filming Premises

The family of a 79 year old woman sued America’s Got Talent after she sustained injuries on set. She supposedly died from injuries due to her on-set injury. The family explained that the incident was severe and the crew was blocking all other access entrances.


In 2017, Maureen Allen was volunteering at the Pasadena Convention Center on the same day AGT was filming. Allen had tried her hardest to maneuver her way through the blockage of television equipment, but her wheelchair flipped on its side. This accident left her with a broken hip, a blood clot and a stroke. She died three months after the injury, while on life support. Follow ups to this case are not evident.

3. Woman Trips Over Wires at L.A. County Fair

In 2015, AGT audience member D’Arcy Gurr suffered a bad fall during filming at the L.A. County Fair. Gurr requested $5 million from America’s Got Talent, Simon Cowell, and the Los Angeles fairgrounds for her injuries.

She tripped over production wires on set and sustained injuries. Following the fall, she claimed the studio was overcrowded. AGT offered her $5 million in compensation following the injury. Follow ups to this case are not evident.


4. Sharon Osbourne’s Former Makeup Artist Falls Through the Floor

Sharon Osbourne’s makeup artist, Jude Alcala sued America’s Got Talent in 2013. The makeup artist sustained injuries after falling six feet through the stage. Alcala fell through the stage on the set of AGT after the team forgot to properly place warning signs of gaps in flooring. He sustained permanent injuries that lead to multiple surgeries. He broke his femur during the fall and damaged his shoulder so badly that it needed surgery.

The makeup artists chose to sue for negligence and more. His former client, Sharon Osbourne, supposedly gave her full support to jude during his steady recovery. This celebrity had already left the show ahead of this injury. Follow ups to this case are not evident.

5. Gabrielle Union’s Departure from AGT

Gabrielle Union was fired from AGT after one season as a judge. Following her departure, she filed a formal complaint mentioning “racist jokes, racist performances, sexual orientation discrimination and excessive focus on female judges’ appearances including race-related comments.” In particular, she said that Simon Cowell would smoke directly next to her on the soundstage, causing her to fall ill. She also reported that high-level executives allegedly tried to make her keep quiet about these claims.

NBC put their employees through diversity training, they took measures to make the behind the scenes more inclusive. In the end, they came to a settlement. In 2020, Union and AGT settled stating that they had an amicable resolution. They did not provide details about what the agreement encompasses.

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