ABC Freeform 2017 Upfront

Tyra Banks Just Abused A Young Girl, Is Her ‘America’s Got Talent’ Career Over?

Tyra Banks is in very hot water at the America’s Got Talent studios after her physical and emotional manipulation of a young girl during filming sparked a large-scale lawsuit against the show.

The Hollywood Reporter relayed yesterday evening that a couple (referred to as “John Doe” and “Jane Doe” in the lawsuit) who went on the show is suing the producers because Tyra Banks, one of the hosts, traumatized their daughter (referred to as “Mary Doe” in the suit) by humiliating and physically abusing her. The 18-page lawsuit can be read in full here.

The offending incident occurred after the couple, a musical duo who were auditioning together on the show, performed a song they had written themselves during one of the show’s auditions. The song was about Mary, who had accompanied them to the audition and who was watching from the sidelines.

Tyra Banks was not a fan of the song, and she mocked it relentlessly once it was through. In fact, according to reports, she brought Mary into it, implying her birth had been a mistake. Banks even went so far as to shake the girl’s shoulders and pull her hair back, say the documents being used in the ongoing lawsuit.

Producers also told Mary to “act embarrassed and annoyed by her parents’ performance.” After all, a little family drama makes for good TV.

After Banks finished ragging on the song herself, the show turned the running cameras on Mary and asked her what she had thought of her parents’ performance after it had been ridiculed on national TV. The reports do not mention whether or not the girl responded to Tyra’s seemingly monstrous question, but they do all mention the part of the lawsuit where the performing couple allege that “as a result of her negative experience from AGT and Defendants’ abusive treatment, Mary was traumatized and became deeply depressed.”

As Deadline points out, a reality television filming really can be a pretty cutthroat environment, and “those who want to be on a reality competition show need to know what they’re getting into.” Still, Tyra Banks’ incredibly harsh treatment of a minor was a step over the line and is not probably going to fly.

Banks “knowingly, willfully, and with malicious intent, initiated a harmful and offensive physical contact with Mary’s person,” the suit continues. “As a direct and proximate result of Bank’s conduct, Mary suffered severe, long term anguish, distress and anxiety.”

The show has agreed not to air any of the footage involving Mary, but they insist that they will still show John and Jane’s performance when the new season of America’s Got Talent begins on May 30.

Singer onstage
[Image by Carlos Castilla/iStock]

It’s pretty heavy stuff, and the fact that Tyra Banks is still new on America’s Got TalentThe Inquisitr reports she was announced as a host in March — will not help her in keeping the gig.

“I’ve seen a completely different side of her,” America’s Got Talent judge Simon Cowell said about new co-worker Tyra banks in an interview on Today.

“She’s still a bit of a diva.”

Tyra Banks speaks onstage during the 2016 ESSENCE Festival.
[Image by Paras Griffin/Getty Images]

Cowell claimed he meant it as a compliment, but his phrasing shows that Banks is not yet entirely comfortable on the show, a factor that might have something to do with her unfortunate outburst.

Bank’s behavior might also have something to do with the fact that she is the newest member of the America’s Got Talent panel. It is possible she wanted to do something larger than life to make her mark, and she got carried away. Trish Kinane, one of the show’s producers, did say when Banks signed on that she was excited to watch Tyra host because of how passionate and opinionated she is, but this is probably not what Kinane had in mind.

Could Tyra Bank’s career as a host on America’s Got Talent be coming to an end almost as soon as it begins because of this incident? If John and Jane Doe’s version of the story is accurate, it seems like a definite possibility.

[Featured Image by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP Images]