Joseline Hernandez Confirms In Deposition ‘Love & Hip Hop Atlanta’ Is Scripted!

Posted on Mar 11 2015 - 2:40pm by Stacy Slotnick, Esq.

Joseline Hernandez: Love & Hip Hop Atlanta Admits Fake Under Oath. All About The Tea. Follow us: @AllAboutTheTea_ on Twitter

Bombshell Testimony From Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta’s Joseline Hernandez

Bombs away!  Even if you have never seen a single frame of VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta,” you will want to pay close attention to a blockbuster legal development – given under oath, no less – about the “reality” of reality TV. 

Notorious cast member Joseline Hernandez is being sued by her former co-star Althea Hart, real name Althea Eaton, who claims Hernandez physically assaulted her during last season’s reunion show filmed in New York City. Eaton and her fiancé Benzino fought both Hernandez and Stevie J during the brawl. Eaton and Benzino were booted from the show after Benzino, a media executive and record producer, allegedly threatened the show’s producers.

READ: Benzino Blames Mona Scott Young for The Love & Hip Hop Atlanta Reunion Brawl

According to the civil lawsuit filed by Eaton in August 2014, during the Season 3 reunion show Hernandez “began her assault by viciously punching Plaintiff in the face, then continued to hit and scratch her. Defendant then pulled Plaintiff to the ground where she continued to hit and scratch Plaintiff until security personnel were able to restrain her.” Eaton apparently “suffered a black eye, abrasions to her face and arms, and extensive bruising to her arms and legs.” 

Joseline Hernandez: Love & Hip Hop Atlanta Admits Fake Under Oath. All About The Tea. Follow us: @AllAboutTheTea_ on Twitter #LHHATL

The complaint claims, “numerous witnesses and media outlets have reported observing Defendant Hernandez smoking crack cocaine out of a pipe backstage at the L&HHATL reunion show, and Plaintiffs believe that Defendant’s intoxication was a contributing factor to her violent and unprovoked assault of Plaintiff.”

READ: Hot Tea: Crack Cocaine Triggered Violent Brawl At Love & Hip Hop Atlanta Reunion – Lawsuit Filed!

Eaton, a singer, is suing Hernandez for assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages to be determined by a jury.  Eaton did not take legal action against VH1.

The bombshell in the civil suit is that Hernandez, a so-called Puerto Rican princess, gave a 4-hour videotaped deposition to Eaton’s lawyer, in which she talked about the origins of the show’s content. Hernandez testified under oath that she and other cast members stick to a script but does that mean she is not responsible for her own actions?

“[I]t’s called reality but it’s a lot of acting….I say that because a lot of the girls on the show, they act. It’s a lot of acting in a reality TV show, whether it’s Love & Hip Hop or another show,” explained L&HHATL’s breakout star Joseline Hernandez. Are Hernandez’s statements intended to defeat sweeping claims made by VH1 producers that extreme violence is neither tolerated nor promoted on L&HHATL?

READ: Breaking News: Benzino And Althea FIRED From Love & Hip Hop Atlanta

When asked by Eaton’s lawyers if what she portrays on the popular reality show is authentic, Hernandez responded, “Well, I mean, the reality TV show showcases a lot of who we are not.”  If the incident was scripted and pre-planned or VH1 brass signed off on the fight, producers may be in hot legal water.

The critical question is whether producers forced Hernandez to strike Eaton or did producers conspire with Hernandez to commit battery, which is not exactly the accusation Hernandez made. But maintaining that the show was scripted calls into question the idea that Hernandez was contractually obligated to play a character and follow a violent storyline.

Many critics point fingers at the FCC for its failure to apply federal laws governing reality TV shows. Today, strict regulation is arguably more necessary because participants or “talent” on reality TV shows may be set-up for failure or duped in ways that are not entirely obvious.  The charge by people like Hernandez is that producers are scripting these shows and staging scenarios the networks hope will result in ratings gold at the expense of participants who carry out vicious acts. 

Just look at whom the network rewarded in this chaos: Hernandez, the alleged wrongdoer, still has a job with VH1 and Eaton, the assumed victim, does not. It has been reported Hernandez received only a four episode suspension after the disturbing incident she caused. Should the show have terminated her or was she just following a script?

Hernandez’s testimony should make us consider whether there are legitimate legal concerns parties should be looking at before signing on the dotted line, such as privacy issues, intellectual property theft, the rigging of storylines, and violent scenarios scripted by show producers. 

Grab your gavel, join the conversation, and tell us what you think about Hernandez’s testimony and whether VH1 is culpable.   

 

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About the Author

Stacy Slotnick, a.k.a. The Foxy Jurist, holds a J.D., cum laude, from Touro Law Center and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst Commonwealth Honors College. Stacy is the recipient of the Honors Deans Award; Simon and Satenig Ermonian Memorial Scholarship; College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Opportunity Scholarship; and College of Humanities and Fine Arts Scholarship. She is also a William F. Field Alumni Scholar, an honor bestowed upon the most academically distinguished students. In law school, Stacy won two CALI Excellence For The Future Awards® and received an Achievement Scholarship. She is a member of the New York Bar. As an entertainment lawyer, Stacy counsels clients on contracts, branding, and public relations strategy. She negotiates with agents, producers, production companies, and lawyers to secure rights to projects on behalf of high-profile clients. Her clever, spirited, no holds barred legal analysis can be found in articles for The Huffington Post. * Facebook   * LinkedIn   * Twitter

  • Brattus Rattus

    Shocking…..said no on ever.
    I do believe that all of these “reality shows” set up situations. What happens in the situations is up to the cast members. You can be the good, the bad, the ugly. That’s up the players in the game. Choose wisely.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Do you think the “reality show” label is erroneous now? To what extent do producers and scriptwriters set up the scenes that unfold which have us gasping in shock?

      • Brattus Rattus

        Ummm, I just think the producers give ideas for gatherings and give the idiots a chance to see them interact. Kinda like us (semi) normal people at work and with out families. If we all had a camera into each others lives, we would all be on blast for something or another. I thing the producers set up a perfect storm. It’s really no different than Survivor. People take sides. They see who is their friend and enemy. Plus everyone is getting paid. The “wives” are just better dressed”.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          Totally agree. I think there is a good amount of “set-up” scenarios but then the participants/”talent” make it their own. But Hernandez is insinuating that the show is scripted, meaning production has to follow different rules and guidelines.

          • Brattus Rattus

            You being the awesome lawyer that you are, can this be a “save your ass” moment? If there are no scripts, is Hernandez done – opinion only.
            Also, my cancer meds are kicking in. Been coughing up blood all day, so if there are typos…my bad.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            I am so incredibly sorry to hear that. Your AATT family wishes you much comfort and health at this time.

            I love your streamlined question! Yes, if there is no script and there was no direction provided by VH1 or producers, Hernandez is toast.

          • Brattus Rattus

            Thank you. I think all of these “reality” shows set the scene and just wait. That’s why there is lost footage and stuff that never makes the screen. boringggggg but with no real script, no case

          • Stacy Slotnick

            I agree. I think editors play a huge role in the “filmmaking” process of reality TV in order to craft a storyline from the footage captured. The most likely scenario is that producers sit down with cast frequently during filming and talk in general terms about storylines.

          • Brattus Rattus

            Agreed 100% and whomever gives the best “talking head”, sorry couldn’t resist, gets the better storyline.
            I really wish I would have finished paralegal then law school. Although a waste now that I’m dying. You’re a hoot to speak too and I can still follow most all of your law documents. Well, at the moment…probably not much longer. I’m a gonner on my meds, but usually.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Oh dear. There are no words. Undoubtedly you have the smarts and do follow, as evidenced by your excellent comments, these legal blogs. You can speak to me anytime.

          • Brattus Rattus

            So sweet. Thank you for that.

          • Bad Barbie

            Hugs to you Brattus. Hope you feel better soon.

            Done as in the show? Mona Scott is the devil and Queen of ratchet TV along with Shaunie O’Neil. She will keep Joseline and Stevie because they do the most and the demographic viewer for love and hip-hop… likes the most.

          • Brattus Rattus

            Done as in… screwed. The show seem to be the least of the problems.
            and thank you so much for the condolences.

          • RonnieIsBack

            OMG so sorry to here what you are experiencing Brattus. Hugs!!!

          • Brattus Rattus

            Thank you. Cancer is a bitch. I highly suggest no one ever get it. LOL You have to keep laughing.

      • Bad Barbie

        Ain’t t funny?! And to think that most shows on TV are labeled as “Reality”.

  • Bad Barbie

    I believe it to some extend but that person at the reunion was not ‘acting’.

    And Puerto Rican’s called. They are having a parade because you finally admitted you are acting when you say you are the “Puerto Rican Princess”.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      My you have a way with words! You think that Hernandez was not following a script or acting when she went after Eaton?

      • Bad Barbie

        Nope! I don’t think she was acting. Although a lot of the story lines are made up for TV…I thinks he was high on coke like Benzino and Athea said she was. There are Youtube videos of Joseline in a recording studio, where she extremely high and talking nonsense. Then she starts rapping and it becomes pure comedy. She is a known druggie.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          I suppose the problem I have with this case, and what seems less than kosher to me, is the fact there were no criminal charges and if she was using illegal substances, why didn’t the network turn the footage and evidence over to authorities? Moreover, why did they hire Hernandez but not Eaton back?

          • Bad Barbie

            1. Unless she took a hit and they caught it on camera, there’s really no way to prove it unless they give her a drug test.

            2. Mona was out to dinner with her and Stevie right after the reunion finished filming. She is the devil and knows who brings in the ratings. That may be why there were no criminal charges filed and maybe they can’t file due to their contract.

            My real question is- When does the law trump these contracts?????????

          • Stacy Slotnick

            What do you mean “When does the law trump these contracts?” Are you referring to portions of the contract that may be unconscionable and illegal? In order for the law to trump said clauses or the contract as a whole, a plaintiff has to take the matter to court, and that is not happening here because Eaton did not go after VH1.

          • RonnieIsBack

            Boom! There is is.

          • Bad Barbie

            Athia most likely couldn’t go after Vh1 because of the terms in their contract; therefore, taking the matter to court may have been out of the question. Which bring me to my point of “When does the law trump these contracts?”.

            You can’t go around assaulting people and get away with it because a an employment contract?! Where does criminal law step in and says F your contract?! I mean, unless you are Mayweather or Pacquiao. LOL

            Seems like these contracts are exonerating 2 things. 1. The network putting them in such scenario and 2. The person assaulting. In the court of law, there’s got to be some liability somewhere regardless of the terms.

            Does agreeing with a contract strip you of your civil rights?

          • Stacy Slotnick

            A covenant not to sue is not always enforceable. In fact, I have seen many instances in which these clauses in a contract are thrown out. Thus, Eaton could have sued VH1, VH1 would have used the clause in the contract as a defense, and the trier of fact would have decided if that clause was enforceable.

            I agree 100% that you cannot commit a battery and expect no criminal or civil punishment. However, prosecutors make the decision to try people like Joseline on a case-by-case basis. Evidently Eaton filed a police report with the NYPD but prosecutors are not pursuing the claim. Chock it up to lack of evidence, lack of resources, and other forces at play.

          • Bad Barbie

            Is that true? I though she is still facing charges in NY? Didn’t the reunion incident happened in ATL?

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Most definitely. These covenants have been stricken in a wide variety of cases, including corporate and business relationships. Does that surprise you? Think of it this way: You might have the ability to contract not to sue someone, but if that strips you of your legal rights courts are remiss to enforce those clauses that have been deemed unconscionable.

            It has been reported that charges were filed in NY by Eaton and if Hernandez steps foot inside the Empire State, she could be arrested but that is unlikely. I think the reunion was taped in NY, hence NY is the location of where charges were filed. If you have new or different information, feel free to post it here!

          • Stacy Slotnick

            The cast taped the reunion show in New York City back in July, numerous media sources reported.

  • Good blog, Stacy. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this circus is not totally real. It’s a tv show. And it’s main purpose is to entertain to garner high ratings $$$. None of the reality shows are 100% real.

    • Bad Barbie

      But I still think that what happened at the reunion was not acting if it was.,… Joseline didn’t know when to cut off the act. She went overboard beating people up, hence why she is in court.

      • Stacy Slotnick

        Do you think its interesting that criminal charges were not filed against Hernandez? Do you think network brass tried to keep the matter out of criminal court?

        • Bad Barbie

          I would think the network didn’t want any of this in court. 1. It will make these characters second guess their decision to be on the show since their character wont be the one in court but them.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            That’s a good point.

      • Agreed. I don’t believe for a minute the fight was “acting” as she’s trying to suggest in the video above. Her and Stevie were clearly on something and looking for a fight.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          Why do you think producers didn’t fire Hernandez and Stevie J?

          • Because they’re both bat shit crazy. Drama = ratings. The show would be boring without them.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Do you think Hernandez would have went after VH1 in the press for manufacturing the fight if she wasn’t rehired? I’m just thinking something else was going on here.

          • RonnieIsBack

            So they won’t snitch…but put fire under the feet of that ex-con and stripper Jose..she start chirping like the bird that she is…and Stebbie and his child support drama…that show is going down…eventually…

          • Stacy Slotnick

            It is just remarkable that if Hernandez was the instigator, why did the network rehire the wrongdoer and fire the alleged victim? But I see your point entirely, RonnieIsBack.

            I read the Nielsen ratings and LHHATL tied for second place in the 18-49 demographic for original cable programming. I wonder if this legal drama has upped the viewership. Do you think the show will be recast eventually?

          • RonnieIsBack

            You ask thought provoking questions Stacey and I LOVE IT! They never fired Stebbi and Jose, but they gave them a fake suspension. I think Mona has all of these low lives and thirsty for one last chance peeps on an emotional blackmail list. It is sad that she is exploiting them

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Thank you! It is always a goal of mine to ask piercing questions that allow us all to have a more nuanced conversation. Thank you too for your insight into casting and a potential blackmail situation. I am inspired by viewers and posters like you who bring depth to these stories.

          • Bad Barbie

            Because Mona is all about the ratings and Steebie and Joseline are the show.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Thanks! I think the majority of people are in agreement with you that these shows are semi-scripted. The problem — legally speaking — becomes when a script or producer encourages or demands certain behavior of the cast. This is precisely what Hernandez is getting at. She is trying to place blame on VH1. Do you think a jury will buy it?

      • Hi Stacy,

        Joseline’s costars have come forward to state she’s lying. They claim producers do not tell them what to do/say. Her castmates claim producers only arrange meet ups and stage scenarios then throw the clowns in the ring to perform. A few of her costars also came forward to say Hernandez is on drugs so it’s not looking good for Joseline right now.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          Good Evening! To take this information one step further, if Joseline lied about the show being scripted, she is walking an extremely dangerous line since perjury in civil cases is prosecuted. I would assume her attorney informed her that lying under oath in a deposition is illegal. Perjury is a serious offense that results in incalculable harm to the functioning of the legal system as well as to private individuals (Eaton).

    • Bad Barbie

      Have no doubt that these type situations do exist in real life, though.

  • Yolie

    Joseline better start looking for a new job. I can’t imagine Mona Scott is happy about Joseline’s deposition.

    Stacy, how can this affect the future of the show (if any)?

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Joseline’s deposition testimony calls into question the very defense that VH1 producers put forth, namely, that they did not encourage violence on the show. If Eaton decides to go after the network or producers, that could spell big trouble for the show. Essentially, Joseleline claims that there was a script and she was an actor, and thus VH1 is responsible for what went down at the reunion show. Producers legally could be held liable as co-conspirators or accessories.

      Why do you think VH1 offered Joseline a new contract AFTER the incident? Do you think the future of the show is at risk after the testimony was leaked? I look forward to reading your thoughts.

      • Yolie

        Thanks for the detailed explantation Stacy. I think Joseline’s testimony will not work well in her favor with the VH1’s execs. And essentially open the floodgates for future lawsuits of this nature. If Benzino/Althea wins it will change the future for reality TV producer influence / liability.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          I completely agree with your analysis. Joseline’s statements under oath have opened the door to further inquiry into VH1’s actions. It is more than just admitting reality TV is semi-scripted; it goes to potential liability.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          You are so welcome, Yolie. I am glad I could help explain the testimony and what it means potentially for producers and the network. Have an excellent day!

      • GinaXOXO

        It is about time that reality show production companies feel a little heat. Maybe this will scare them enough that they will change their policies. It’s too bad they can’t treat their talent with in a way that would make it appear they have a soul. They create life changing hardships for their talent as if it were just another day at the office.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          I heartily second your remarks, GinaXOXO. You offer an outstanding summation of the situation that unfolded in this deposition. Networks create situations that lead to legal problems for their cast while they walk away scot-free because the violence is allegedly “unscripted.”

          Change could come from a variety of places. Participants and cast members might lobby Congress for new rules and regulations and/or the FCC could take up the cause to police violent attacks on reality TV shows. Moreover, if a participant takes the case to court and there is a verdict, that judgment could be binding legal precedent for other like-minded cases.

          I don’t think the networks will unilaterally change their tune because the paradigm they’ve created is just too lucrative. Instead of paying for scripts, they have producers either implicitly or explicitly guide storylines.

          • Bad Barbie

            Forget legal problems more like lethal!

  • She Stinks!

    My girl Joseline went in on HO-thea at that reunion, which she didn’t deserve at all. I’d love to introduce Joseline to Tre, so she can beat the crap out of her instead. I bet Miss Mona is livid with all this. Joseline will be back on the pole in no time.

    It will be interesting to see how this shakes out, thanks Stacy!

    • Stacy Slotnick

      I take it from your remarks that you think Joseline was fully in control and that she was not coached to pick a fight and get physical. Are you surprised by her statements at the deposition? Imagine if there was cross-pollination between RHONJ and LHHATL. It would be explosive.

      • RonnieIsBack

        I think Jose was coached and got scared in the deposition, which can be intimidating to criminals like her with a records, so she started snitching…

        • Stacy Slotnick

          I think that is a very likely scenario based on the facts. One of the reasons I wrote about FCC intervention in this blog is because someone has to police these shows since most of their talent and participants will not hash out contract disputes in court, in part because it is just too costly and who wants to stand up to networks who are participant’s bread and butter?

          Unless a court reviews the legality of these contracts, problems like this will continue. Or, if the FCC gets involved, there might be more concrete guidelines that the networks must follow.

  • RonnieIsBack

    Mona Scott is a foul bird who exploits thirsty heauxs of ATL and NY….shame on her. I hope this lawsuit blows up in her face..
    Unfortunately her lawyers will spin it like a bad employment labor law matter – complaints from a disgruntled fired employee. They will also back off and say we never encourage violence…blah blah…

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Thanks for the great comments! What do you make of the deposition video? How does it change the game for either side?

      • Bad Barbie

        I guess it shows people that these contracts are not signing your safety away that they can land the aggressor in court. Bravo should take note too.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          I think the deposition casts a very negative light on the network but it is only a game-changer for the network if Joseline has evidence to back up her statements about the violence in the show being scripted.

  • Babson_Chick

    This show is scripted!!?? say it isn’t so – am shocked. However, IMO the producers on these shows are losing control which results in violence and insults that are way out of line and not entertaining. Violence should not be condoned or shown as it seems that some are trying to outdo others – so where do you draw the line.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      I love your comments because you have made an excellent argument that analyzes the flip side of the production control coin. For instance, is it that producers have lost control and fail to include clauses about behavior of cast members in contracts OR is the issue that producers are controlling everything and demanding violent or physical behavior? I absolutely adore the point you make about production having less control because there is certainly the chance that producers are not at fault.

      Moreover, bravo to you for your take on the unnecessary quality of violence on Reality TV. There is an audience that wants to see people get physical, but give me a crazy psychic in the style of RHOBH Season 1 any day.

      • Babson_Chick

        Thanks for your kind comments!! I think the producers have lost control and their contracts must not be enforced or they’re poorly written contracts. It seems all the “casts/actors” have to really bring out the drama (per verbal commands maybe) or they’re gone – some subject to be brought back as needed.

  • Cyber_Me

    Duh! Oh please, I already knew that the show was scripted lol! All of those so called “reality shows are SCRIPTED! The housewives shows, Mob Wives etc etc! All of those housewives shows and also Mob Wives are always having these trips or meetings with the women to supposedly make up and talk with each other, when they know fully well that there’s going to be drama and fighting! Its a rates promoter for the producers! And its all a gimmick. But great for laughs lol.

    • Babson_Chick

      Oh no – you mean Amish Mafia is scripted too??!! Seems to me that ever since Trampra threw a drink at Vik’s party and Teresa threw the table over, it’s all gotten out of hand but guess some do like the wild action.

      • Cyber_Me

        I never heard of the”Amish Mafia” lol. I only know one true Mafia, and that’s the Italian Mafia. Bada bing, bada boom lol.

        • Babson_Chick

          I’ve been watching it for several yrs. now on Disc. Channel. This is the last season since the PA Gov and others don’t like Levi who enforces for the Amish since they can’t.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      We very much appreciate your perspective! If I may be so bold, I think the eye-opener in this instance is the fact someone has alleged under oath that the reality show she appears on is scripted. The consequence of that statement is that responsibility may shift to the network if indeed the network encouraged or demanded the violence.

      Do you think there are scriptwriters that formulate these table-flips and thrown drinks/punches on reality TV or do you think producers create an environment by feeding the cast information in which that type of behavior is likely to occur? On a sliding scale of scripted TV, where does reality TV fall? Is it more like a game show or ABC’s Scandal?

      • Cyber_Me

        I think that its both, planned and an environment set up for the violence and fighting to occur. Take for instance the recent Mob Wives reunion. That looked extremely staged . Its like the Jerry Springer show, the producers want the arguments and fights because their audience wants the arguments fights. It boosts show ratings and brings in big money for the show from sponsors and satisfies the viewers who like watching that sort of thing. Its a shame that these shows have to rely on arguments and fights, but that’s the way it goes.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          I think you are right on the money. Surely neither the network nor cast members are solely to blame for fights that get physical and have the potential to become criminal in nature. Thanks for commenting!

  • Tamera

    Stevie j u ya non english deported bytch joseline need to chill cus yall hoes r tired u fu king ducks and joseline bytch u the maid to me cus u fucking&sucking EVERYBODYS second plus sucking ass on stage and thats exactly wat a maid does is clean shit up…. “HOW U DOING??” but u say u a boss bytch but u only worth 50,000 hoa im that yearly frm a 9-5 get ya papea up and ya mind ryte get off tha white. U silly duck hoa.

    • anw4dc

      Can I get the English version?

  • Tamera

    And another thing quit fighting on weak people bytch and scratch a real bytch thats bout it. “TRILL SHIT BYTCH!!”