“Candid Camera”

by Walter Olson on January 22, 2007

Apparently the long-running show was sued very little, if at all, by victims of its hidden-camera stunts. Was that because, as host Allen Funt maintained, the show’s spirit was genial rather than sadistic, in contrast to more recent shows? Or because its liability releases (presumably proffered to the victims after the embarrassing stunt had been sprung) were more likely to be upheld? Or just because people then weren’t as primed to sue? (Ann Althouse, Jan. 20).

{ 6 comments }

1 KipEsquire 01.22.07 at 10:37 am

Did you guys cover the story in which the new version conspired with a small airport to trick people into riding a mock x-ray belt? That went to court (and to CourtTV), more to sue the airport than the producers of the show, as I recall.

http://www.courttv.com/trials/taped/candidcamera/candidcamera_ctv.html

2 jb 01.22.07 at 10:51 am

The answer is the last one.

3 Amsterdamsky 01.22.07 at 11:35 am

Agreed. The were not primed to sue. Something went rotton in the US since the early 70′s. If anything, prior to that people were not filing for these that really should have been sued for especially hosiptal induced harm in the name of health care. 1960′s medical journals read like medieval torture documentation.

4 Captain Spaulding 01.22.07 at 11:54 am

Commenters on Althouse say what I was going to say: On Candid Camera, you don’t get asked to sign the release until after the embarrasing behavior in question whereas Borat had the release signed before.

Mark Evanier noted a couple of years ago that one way Candid Camera got releases signed was by a) deliberately avoiding pranks that would ensnare professionals and b) having his victims sent over by a temp agency.

5 Walter E. Wallis 01.22.07 at 3:36 pm

I never watched it after the first time. People who like to watch other people being humiliated are wierd. I often said I would watch one episode if the producers called Funt in and told him he was being fired.

6 Ted 01.23.07 at 12:33 pm

Another Evanier post on the topic.

Since Candid Camera viewers saw only the finished product, we don’t know how many people refused to sign the release (just as we don’t know how many people Borat interviewed and filmed who acquitted themselves honorably, so we never saw the tape).

A law firm I worked for years ago represented a network client that produced a prank show where the tasteless prank filmed for the pilot went awry, and the show was never aired. There were lawsuits.

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