Orphans sue ABC, family over Extreme Makeover: Home Edition episode

Five orphans who were part of an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition episode are suing ABC and the family that once took them in and has since evicted them.

The five kids “say that the producers took advantage of the family’s hard-luck story and promised them new cars and other prizes to persuade them to participate in the program,” according to the LA Times.

While the kids were taken into Firipeli and Lokilani Leomiti’s home, which was renovated for the show, “the suit claims that the Leomitis used the children to increase their chances of being selected for the program.” And “shortly after production wrapped,” the paper reports, “the Leomitis began working to evict the Higgins children — who are black and at the time ranged in age from 14 to 21 — through physical abuse and name-calling, including repeatedly using a racial epithet.”

Also named in the lawsuit is the construction company, because “Pardee used their photographs and story on the firm’s website without their permission.”

‘Makeover’ now family feud [The LA Times]
The Leomiti-Higgins Family: Season 2, Episode 18 [ABC]
One Extreme Story [Paradee Homes]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.