If you are Blac Chyna, you think so. So much so that Chyna is now in court suing most of the Kardashian family and NBCUniversal in a lawsuit worth $108M. She alleges they co-conspired to have her reality show cancelled and removed from broadcast.
Could we be at that much a tipping point in media? Are reality stars with huge production and distribution deals now dictating to the networks? Has the power structure of television shifted from Hollywood Executives to Reality Talent? While the lawsuit does not state anything near these questions, yours truly is here to shine a light on media trends at large.
The Story: Who is Blac Chyna? In short, she is Rob Kardashian’s ex-girlfriend and mother to his daughter, Dream.
Chyna and Kardashian started dating in 2016. They had Dream and then split up in 2017. It was a pretty tumultuous relationship. A lot of their fighting aired on Keeping Up With The Kardashians reality show.
Then, he and Chyna got their own show.
Their show Rob & Chyna, aired in 2016. Their rocky relationship began to air on their own show. Lots of accusation. Very public. Rob said she cheated. Chyna said he was mentally unstable.
They then broke up in early 2017. Filming was completely cancelled MID-WAY through the series.
So, here is what that Chyna suit says:
- Intentional interference with a live contract,
- Intentional interference with her future possible economic opportunity.
Stating, in short, the Kardashians conspired together with NBCUniversal (E! Television specifically) to take the short-lived Chyna/Kardashian show off the air.
A little more on Blac Chyna and Her Net Worth-
Chyna has done financially well with her public persona. Reports state she is worth $10M. She has an online brand 88fin, a makeup line Lashed by Blac Chyna, and a beauty destination in Los Angeles. But- the real money maker- OnlyFans. This pay-for exclusive adult content platform is most likely her biggest income producer. In one of her posts, with her foot in a bowl of grapes, well- it created over a 1M online views.
Early in 2021, it was reported users spent $2.4 billion on this subscription based-entertainment site in 2020, and now more 120 million people use it. There is a lot of porn on the site. Fans lap it up. It has caused banking problems though. Banks do not want to be known as sponsoring pornography on the internet. Tim Stokeley, founder of Only Fans says: “We pay over one million creators over $300 million every month, and making sure that these funds get to creators involves using the banking sector.“
Back To The Lawsuit–
The Kardashians tried to get it thrown out. The judge said no. Too much evidence to ignore. Uh Oh. Where was this evidence?- in unaired footage. Double Uh Oh.
Motive? Chyna’s lawyer says:
“The Kardashians were flexing their muscles so as to destroy … she was no longer able to compete against the Kardashian-Jenner women as an entrepreneur and social media influencer.” “In killing the second season of Rob & Chyna, the Kardashians ensured that the E! network had room in its schedule for Kylie Jenner to star in her own show, in which she heavily promoted Kylie Cosmetics, which was once in direct competition with L by Blac Chyna.”
How will this affect media and reality deals going forward? Hard to know at this point. As one with a lot of experience in working within reality shows and the stars- I often get asked the same question- “What is the greatest challenge?”
My answer? “It’s based on reality. Real people. Actual humans with real lives”. Real life can be very messy. Good or Bad. Intentional or Not. A celebrity spokesperson will have great effect on a brand. Whether or not this civil suit reveals that it also translates into power over a major network remains to be seen.