Dance Moms Season 4 has been hit by a lawsuit against star Abbey Lee Miller because of supposed inappropriate behavior allegedly backed by producers.
Kelly Hyland, a mom to two children in the Lifetime reality television show, says producers of the show encouraged the abusive behavior to boost ratings.
In the lawsuit — filed on Thursday against Dance Moms’ Miller — Hyland claims she and her children were mistreated, their contract has been breached, they have not been paid for season 4, and they were intentionally subjected to emotional distress — among other charges.
The suit was brought in Los Angeles Superior Court against the producers of the show — Collins Avenue Entertainment — and Abigail Lee Miller.
The Dance Moms debacle stems from an in-your-face fight during this week’s episode in which Hyland claims Miller assaulted and defamed her.
Hyland — who has known Miller since childhood — had her two daughters, Brooke and Paige, at the Pittsburgh dance school long before it became known nationally on Dance Moms.
According to Hyland, it soon became clear “the children on the show were being subjected to abusive and unlawful working conditions,” adding the kids worked long hours without a break in violation of Pennsylvania laws.
Hyland says that she complained about how her daughters were being treated and even consulted with her lawyers during Season 2 of Dance Moms. She was allegedly told that she and her girls were under contract and would be sued for “everything she owned if she backed out” of the show.
The suit specifically names Miller as the abusive party, and Hyland claims she acted like a drill sergeant shouting at and bullying her students. She also says Miller provoked the rest of the mothers in front of the kids.
Part of the suit reads:
“Miller screams at the girls in front of the other dancers, moms and production crew, causing them to cry, and then Miller derides them for being emotionally weak when they do. Miller even tossed a chair during a confrontation with Paige.”
According to the suit brought against Dance Moms, this is all an effort on the part of producers to attract more viewers.
Paige Hyland began to suffer from panic attacks and anxiety, the suit reads, and a counselor attributed the symptoms to bullying.
Kelly Hyland says she found all this offensive and was further concerned after a performance in which the girls — directed by Miller — wore provocative costumes and made inappropriate gestures towards their crotch and chests.
This particular episode of Dance Moms was received with criticism by the media and viewers alike. The complaints led to Lifetime removing the episode, and it is no longer available as part of the series.
The Pennsylvania woman also mentions an incident during a dance recital in the Bronx in which Miller — who is described as a 300 pounds woman — lunged at her and attempted to bite her. Hyland then slapped Miller to protect herself, and the police was called.
Hyland believed that Dance Moms producers wanted a warrant to be issued for her arrest because it would “make for intensely dramatic television.”
According to the suit, Hyland wants to be compensated for suffering, emotional distress, anxiety, frustration, anger, humiliation, and anguish while filming the show.
Collins Avenue Entertainment has promised to make a comment about Hyland’s lawsuit against Dance Moms, according to The Hollywood Reporter.