Michelle Ntalami has filed a lawsuit against the South African-based TV channel, M-Net, accusing them of using her images in a reality TV show without her consent.
The legal action, initiated at the High Court in Nairobi, seeks compensation for alleged defamation and unauthorized use of her image and voice.
In the lawsuit, Ntalami has listed Minne Kariuki Njuguna alias Minne Cayy, Young Rich Television Limited, Electronic Media Network Proprietary Limited (M-NET), and D&R Studios Limited as defendants.
Ntalami submits that on November 8, 2022, she received an invitation from Susan Kaittany to attend the dinner and launch of the ‘Sip & Scent’ event at the Tribe Hotel as her guest. During the event, she noticed the presence of a filming crew.
Upon inquiry with a crew member from Young Rich Television Limited and D&R Studios Limited, Ntalami sought information about her actor’s agreement, consent form, or image rights release agreement, but received no such documentation. She was informed that another individual was responsible for that specific docket.
After the event, Ntalami states that she did not receive an actor’s agreement, consent form, or any contractual documentation for the photos, videos, and audio recordings captured by the Young Rich Television Limited and D&R Studios Limited crew.
She claims she was led to believe that someone would contact her with the agreement during the post-production phase.
Ntalami emphasizes that she did not provide consent for the recording of her likeness, image, voice, or brand in any form, including videotapes, audiotapes, films, portrayals, photographs, or other recordings associated with the Real Housewives of Nairobi show.
Ntalami made appearances in Episodes 1 and 2 as well as a Reunion episode.
Furthermore, she asserted that her presence extended to commercials, advertisements, and various social media platforms affiliated with M-NET and D&R Studios Limited.
Following the series launch, Ntalami reportedly approached Kaittany to inquire about whether she had been provided with an actor’s contract, image rights release, or consent agreement. Additionally, she sought clarification on whether Kaitanny had been compensated.
Ntalami claims that Kaittany affirmed that she had an agreement and was duly compensated for all her appearances, including the Reunion Episode.
Ntalami Accuses Minne Cayy of Defamation
The founder of Marini Naturals at the same time is suing Minne Cayy for defamation. She alleges that after the show’s launch, the actress started cyberbullying and uttering false and malicious words about her.
She says these defamatory remarks were not only used by Minne on the show but were also disseminated through television and radio appearances, as well as on various social media platforms.
Ntalami contends that these malicious statements were strategically crafted to harm her reputation in her business, specifically Marini Naturals. She claims to have suffered damages as a result of these defamatory words and is seeking compensation.
Additionally, Ntalami claims that Minne had intentions to exploit her social influence and reputation for commercial gain. This was allegedly evidenced by Minne planning to produce and wear a t-shirt featuring the defamatory words.
Ntalami is seeking general damages for the unauthorized commercial exploitation of her personal rights without her consent. Additionally, she is pursuing aggravated damages due to the defendant’s continued republication of defamatory statements.
The businesswoman says she issued a demand and notice of intention to sue the defendants on March 22, 2023, The notice explicitly instructed them to cease and desist from using her name, reputation, brand, images, audio-visual recordings, and filming in connection with the show. Despite this formal notice, the defendant persisted in repeating, republishing, and replaying parts of Episode 1 that featured her.
On September 25, Ntalami and Kaittany jointly wrote to the Communications Authority of Kenya, requesting an investigation into M-NET’s content.
The two assert that M-NET breached the conditions of its licenses for content distribution in Kenya.
“Through the production and broadcasting of, “The Real Housewives of Nairobi” a television program that they own and broadcast on Showmax and other affiliate platforms owned by themselves, they have permitted and profited from content that is defamatory, obscene, and offensive and have used the same content to promote this program for the purposes of commercial gain and profit,” read part of letter signed by Ntalami and Kaitanny and received by CAK on October 2.