A surrogate mother who gave birth on an episode of Bravo’s “Flipping Out” sued the network on Tuesday, saying she never consented to having the birth filmed.
Alexandra Trent served as a surrogate for Jeff Lewis, the star of the home remodeling show, and his partner Gage Edward. She gave birth to the couple’s daughter in 2016, and the episode documenting the birth aired last August.
In the lawsuit, she alleges that the producers filmed her vagina without permission, and that Lewis and Edward humiliated her by making “disgusting” comments on the show.
“If I was a surrogate, and I had known there was going to be an audience, I probably would have waxed,” Lewis said on the broadcast. “And that was the shocking part for Gage. I don’t think Gage had ever seen a vagina, let alone one that big.”
Trent said she met Lewis and Edward in early 2015 when she responded to a classified ad. She had no idea she would be on a reality show, and had no interest in putting her life on display. She said she agreed to be their surrogate, and consented to the filming of ultrasound appointments to help promote the option of surrogacy.
But, she said, she drew the line at filming the birth. According to the suit, the producers agreed to that condition, but then filmed it surreptitiously from behind a curtain. Neither she nor her doctor were aware that the cameras were rolling as the baby was born. She can be heard on the show screaming in pain, and according to the suit her blurred-out vagina is shown on screen.
Trent said she was unaware the birth had been filmed until well after it had aired, when a business associate informed her of it at a networking event. She then watched clips online, and was humiliated and distraught.
“In their quest for ratings, Defendants have deeply damaged Trent and have caused incredible anguish, self-loathing, contempt and depression,” the suit states.
Trent said she has asked Bravo to take down the clips, without success. She also canceled another surrogacy contract out of embarrassment, the suit alleges.
The suit seeks damages for unlawful recording, invasion of privacy and fraud.
Bravo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.