That's a common practice in reality shows, called "frankenbiting." Sarah's case is actually the most infamous example of it, and the editor of Joe Millionaire happily admitted to doing it in an interview.
If you're wondering why this is legal, well ... shit, so are we. But that contract Sarah signed the day before flying out apparently gave the producers the right to lie about her sex life to millions of people.
There Were Consequences, And They Lasted For A Long Time
Obviously, frankenbiting had a severe impact on Sarah's life. How could it not? "It aired three hours earlier on the East Coast, where I'm originally from, and I remember I would have paparazzi on my doorstep the nights of the viewing. I think I was doing an interview, having a viewing party, and one of my friends called and was like, 'Sarah, if you have people over tonight, cancel it. They make you look like you fuck him in the bushes.'
'Well, that didn't happen. They can't.'
'I'm telling you, cancel your party. You're going to look really bad.'"
Sarah called everyone she knew to clear her name, but to the world at large, she was the girl who'd given some schmo a blowjob on network television.
Fuck them and the horse he rode in on.
"I remember saying, 'My god, if I kill myself, it'll just boost their ratings.' It was devastating. It was bad. I couldn't leave my house. Paparazzi were on my front porch. And I couldn't defend myself, because I had Fox lawyers breathing down my neck ..."
Not only did Fox edit their footage to make Sarah look like she sucked off a stranger for money, but they also threatened to sue her if she talked. "Of course they tried to get me to sign this giant contract that -- I think it was 75 years. That for 75 years, I wouldn't discuss production, etc. etc. So that's one of the tactics, they just kinda scare you to death. Now, I had just finished a year of law school. So I thought I knew everything, and I remember thinking, 'Well, they're not paying us, so this contract will never hold ... you can't sign away all your rights for no consideration.'"
Sarah tried her best to do damage control: "I felt like my only defense was to be in the public light after as much as I could, to try to convince people I wasn't a horrible person like they portrayed. Also, some of it was kind of fun. I got to try lots of things that I wouldn't have had an opportunity to. I recorded on an Indian pop album, I starred in a Vegas dance revue, got to do other television and movie spots. I was a travel writer for a while after that ... and of course, I had the opportunity to be one of the highest-paid 'celebrity pictorials' in Playboy history ... for only going topless."
But today, Sarah is done with the entertainment industry. She runs a business from home and lives in Northern California with her husband. And "sometimes, when I've had too much wine, I tell our dinner guests crazy stories of my days in Hollywood, and my 15 minutes of infamy ..."
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For more check out 5 Details They Cut from My Season of 'The Biggest Loser' and I Was On MTV's The Real World: It Was Not Like You Think.
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