LOS ANGELES (CN) - A former television host on an Alki David chat show has sued his ex-boss in a lawsuit for assault and battery, claiming that a bodyguard choked him during an on-air stunt that went awry.
Joshua Skinner says he was initially a host on David's television show "Good Morning 90210" from September 2012, before David fired him by voice mail the following month.
David is the billionaire owner of Internet TV service Film On X, which along with competing service Aereo, was sued by the major networks for streaming network programming to subscribers.
The Aug. 15 lawsuit claims Skinner was owned roughly $3,500 for his work on the show and that David said he had decided to fire him because his $350 per show was too high. Skinner claims, however, that when he went to pick up his paycheck from David, the executive had another proposition for him: appear in a new show for $200 per show.
The plaintiff claims that on Oct. 17, 2012, he arrived at the studio and was told he would appear on camera as part of an on-air stunt where he would pound on a window and act like he was angry with David.
"Plaintiff was also instructed to hold a real butcher's knife, put fake blood on his hands, and throw coffee at the window. Plaintiff agreed to participate in the stunt as he believed it to be one of the many stunts they performed leading up to Halloween," the 18-page complaint states.
According to the complaint, David told viewers that he believed the show was not working out. Shortly after, Skinner says he appeared behind a window on the studio set and threw coffee against it. David then stated on camera that Skinner had been fired for not being "'very real,'" according to the complaint.
The court filing says that a few minutes later, Skinner was attacked by a bodyguard as he tried to "explain that he was a part of the show."
"Specifically, as plaintiff pleaded with him to stop, bodyguard grabbed plaintiff, choked him, and then pushed and threw him through the studio doors," the lawsuit says.
David was allegedly captured on camera laughing about what was going on behind the scenes. Later, another host allegedly made derogatory comments about Skinner's height and suggested he should be on growth hormones. Skinner says that during the show, red marks were visible on his neck.
The plaintiff notes that he was informed the same day that the show had been canceled. He claims that since the alleged attack he has experienced hair loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and insomnia.
David told Courthouse News in an email that the unnamed bodyguard in the lawsuit was never his employee.
"The guy that is supposed to have attacked Mr. Skinner never worked for me. He was the boyfriend of another guest on the show who didn't hurt Skinner in the least anyway," David wrote in the email. "Skinner two years later is obviously in need of money and thinks that I will settle for the customary $100,000 to get rid of it. He is wrong. Shame on the lawyers too."
Skinner alleges negligence; negligent hiring, retention, supervision and training; assault; battery; fraud; negligent infliction of emotional distress; and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Named defendants are David, FilmOn.TV, FilmOn.TV Networks and Does 1-50.
Skinner seeks damages and costs, and is represented by Daniel Kramer of Kramer Holcomb Sheik.