“Storage Wars” fans, get ready for a dose of reality.
According to star David Hester, A&E’s top-rated program is a fake.
If you’ve never seen an episode of the series, the show follows a group of professional buyers who bid on unpaid storage units to, hopefully, find something worth selling for a profit.
In a complaint filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the show’s star claims that everything about the show is a fraud from alleged staged items inside the “hidden treasure” storage lockers to scripted interviews with cast members.
Hester claims he was fired from the series after expressing his discomfort with production staff and the network about the staging of items in lockers, which he suggested was possibly illegal behavior.
Here’s everything Hester claims is fake about the reality auction series:
1. The items found in the lockers are staged.
Hester claims A&E fills storage units bought on the show with “valuable” and “unusual” items to add to the show’s drama, and will sometimes fill entire lockers. Among items he claims were put in lockers were a valuable collection of Elvis Presley newspapers from when the singer passed. The papers in the unit were valued at upwards of $90,000. Hester was said to have paid $750 for the entire locker.
In the complaint, he suggests that a company called Off the Wall Antiques provides A&E with access to items featured on the show in return for compensation.
From the complaint via TMZ:
“The truth is that Defendants regularly salt or plant the storage lockers that are the subject of the auctions portrayed on the Series with valuable or unusual items to create drama and suspense for the show. Defendants have even gone so far as to stage entire storage units, and will enlist the cooperation of the owners of the storage facilities to stage entire units.”
The claim goes on to suggest show producers schedule item appraisals sometimes weeks ahead of time before they appear on the show.
2. The interviews with the stars are scripted.
3. Many of the scenes – including the colorful auctions – are staged by producers.
“While on location filming an auction, Defendants (A&E) also film footage of the cast members and the public bidding when no actual auction is taking place in order to make it appear that any of the cast members is bidding at any given auction, whether or not he or she is actually bidding on the unit.”
4. A&E pays for storage units for those who can’t afford to purchase them.
“In addition, Original pays for the storage lockers bid on by certain cast members, but not others, in order to give the weaker cast members an advantage over the more experienced and successful bidders such as Hester.”
Hester also claims the network paid certain female stars to receive plastic surgery.
” … Nearly every aspect of the Series is faked, even down to the plastic surgery that one of the female cast members underwent in order to create more “sex appeal” for the show.”
The lead female stars on the show are Brandi Passante, one of the storage unit bidders, and Laura Dotson who runs the auctions along with her husband, Dan.
This isn’t the first time the validity of the show has been questioned. Hester says concern from viewers prompted the series to issue a press release stating the show’s veracity:
“There is no staging involved. The items uncovered in the storage units are the actual items featured on the show.”
This newly filed lawsuit may begin to bring similar shows under scrutiny including Spike’s “Auction Hunters.”
Hester is seeking damages upwards of $750,000 for wrongful termination.