Wife Swap participant sues ABC because the show swapped his wife with a gay man

A Wife Swap participant is suing ABC for $10.225 million because producers swapped his wife with a gay man.

Jeffrey D. Bedford says he was misled because producers “misled him by not sending a female from a heterosexual family to his home,” according to the Muskogee Daily Phoenix. And he “was distraught over the misrepresentation to the point of nonparticipation.” The show started taping on Oct. 14, 2004.

He also claims that producers “repeatedly told him his wife was leaving him. He claims he became emotionally distraught over his and his family’s situation to the point of becoming physically and mentally ill,” the paper reports. He also says that producers basically held his wife hostage, as they “threatened if Bedford did not film the show that they would not tell him his wife’s location and would not pay for her to be sent home.”

Here’s how the $10.225 million in damages breaks down, according to the paper:

As a result of intentional infliction of mental distress he has incurred medical bills, public humiliation, embarrassment and undue grief. He seeks $5 million for that distress and punitive damages of $5 million.

He seeks $75,000 for breach of contract and in excess of $75,000 because of defendants’ fraud or misrepresentation, and punitive damages in excess of $75,000. He also seeks court costs and attorney fees.”

In a statement, the network said, “ABC is confident that RDF Media, the producer of ‘Wife Swap,’ treats participants professionally and with respect. The show is meant to challenge a family’s norms and moreover, the agreement between the plaintiff and RDF specifically stated that the swapped spouse could be either male or female.”

Area man sues for gay ‘Wife Swap’ [Muskogee Daily Phoenix]

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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.