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Many of the valuables hidden inside abandoned storage lockers, as seen on the hit A&E program, were actually planted by TV producers to enhance the drama of the show, former cast member David Hester claims.
Hester says producers have planted items like a BMW Mini and newspapers chronicling Elvis Presley's death to make the show more interesting, reports The Christian Science Monitor. It's apparently worked, as the show about abandoned storage units has surprisingly become one of the highest-rated cable TV shows.
Hester alleges he was fired from the show after he raised concerns about the legality of the alleged staging to the show's producers. He wants more than $750,000 in damages for wrongful termination, breach of contract, and unfair business practices, according to the Monitor.
If you're not familiar with the show, "Storage Wars" follows prospective buyers of abandoned storage units. The prospective buyers (and TV viewers) have only a few moments to glance inside a unit before the buyers have to enter their bids.
The show is essentially a gamble, as the buyers are betting that there is something interesting left inside the abandoned locker. Sometimes, like when there is a BMW waiting inside, the gamble pays off. Other times, the buyer buys a storage unit full of dust.
Hester says that the producers' alleged practice of planting items inside storage lockers violates federal law, which prohibits TV networks from deceiving viewers when shows involve intellectual skills, reports the Monitor.
For complaining about the allegedly illegal act, Hester says he was basically retaliated against with his termination. If his "Storage Wars" lawsuit proceeds, a court may get the final say.