Rachel Ray Sued By Show Guest Over Weight Loss Treatment

article-2310466-1958B1F6000005DC-341_634x467250px-Rachael_RayChristina Pagliarolo is the latest former guest to sue a talk show. Pagliarolo joined the Rachel Ray (right) show at age 18 in 2011 to lose weight and says that she was treated negligently and abusively by the show and its trainer to lose weight. At the time, Pagliarolo weighed 260 lbs. The case is a variation of the type of bullying actions that we have seen in high school but here it is the show producers and trainers who are being accused of tolerating or participating in bullying.

She came to the show with the goal of losing 70 pounds before her senior prom. She says that she was subjected to reckless and abusive conduct in the effort to force down her weight. This includes a trainer allegedly yelling at her and forcing her to work out too hard. Among other accusations, she claims that the trainer, Eric Viskovicz, yelled and increasing the speed on a Stairmaster. She fell off the machine in that incident and says that Viskovicz yelled at her. She also complains of being “coerced” to take hikes despite being tired and sore in her legs. That led to a fall that she claims caused injury. In another allegation, Pagliarolo complained that a girl would hum the theme song to Sea World when she was around.

article-2310466-1958B04C000005DC-338_634x450These type of allegations make for a weak torts claim. Participants generally have to sign extensive waivers and Pagliarolo always had the ability to walk away. These shows are not a form of indentured servitude. Her parents were also present on the show set.

The consensual and contractual defense will make this a difficult case absent a showing of truly reckless and abusive conduct by the show.

Source: Yahoo

33 thoughts on “Rachel Ray Sued By Show Guest Over Weight Loss Treatment

  1. I worry about the mental state of people willing to subject their lives to television exposure. Willingly going on TV to ‘fix’ your life in any way should be prima facia that you are not mentally competent to make the decision on your own.

    I have nothing but pity for the girl. I know personally how difficult it is to lose weight and how society treats obese people. That the sharks and leeches that produce entertainment are only too happy to take advantage of her poor choices is both predictable and despicable. Its a shame she probably can’t win and drive these people into bankrupcy

  2. From what I’ve seen of the popular weight loss television programs, this type of treatment is the norm.

    What worries me is that this type of maltreatment reflects and may reinforce a societal attitude that persons who experience misfortune (unemployment, obesity, poverty) somehow deserve mistreatment. As a retired Weight Watchers leader, I can tell you that does more harm than good to the person who struggles with excess weight.

    We see this attitude manifested in legislation aimed at “helping” the unemployed who receive unemployment insurance (drug testing) and now seniors who received Social Security benefits (chained CPI). As a culture, we are becoming increasing cruel and abusive.

  3. “As a culture, we are becoming increasing cruel and abusive. becoming increasing cruel and abusive.” -KathyP


  4. What Frankly said. Try fixing your life off of the TV set next time. Losing large amounts of weight does require some pain and effort.

  5. Frankly said it well in his first paragraph. However, I have a couple anecdotes. In San Diego there are many “Boot Camp” trainers. They are licensed and many do their classes on the beach. They’re TOUGH but mostly very positive. One guy in particular is very good. When a student stops he quickly goes over to that student and assesses him/her. He’ll take their carotid pulse and ask them questions. Sometimes he’ll tell them to sit it out, sometimes he’ll give them a verbal kick in the ass. Most of his comments are positive and encouraging. Positive is the most effective but we ALL sometimes need a kick in the ass.

    As we know, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff. I think, absent some solid evidence, she has a tough road ahead. I played high school football and our coach was REALLY tough. We were pushed to the limit in preseason. It was not pretty, but I never thought he crossed the line to abusive.

  6. I suppose she’ll have the “twinkie Defense”…. or Ho Ho’s…… Shes just precious Cup Cake…..

  7. AY, Hopefully the “Twinkie Defense” has been discredited. It looks like Hostess will be purchased soon, but the “defense” hopefully has died.

  8. MASkeptic, I think what Milgram showed was a factor. She undoubtedly had low self-esteem so she had little to work with in countering the trainer or just walking away. What penalties were there if she walked away?

    Since I don’t have TV in my home, I only watch bits and pieces elsewhere. Just confirms my decision. I just have to wait for the good stuff to show up on the internet.

  9. I assume this woman watched these kinds of shows and knew what they do. I watched a few minutes of one of these shows once. I don’t see the entertainment but my sister records all of these shows so she never misses one. Go figure.

  10. Theres just way too much talk about weight/obesity/losing weight. Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, all the boot camp shows. I disagree with Michelle Obama’s “Childhood Obesity” initiative, too. Obesity has nothing to do with educating people, IMO. I have a relative who taught Home Ec (or whatever its called nowadays). She taught food groups and food pyramids and all that stuff. The whole family is overweight. One of the girls, now an adult, is enormous. The other daughter has 3 children who are all very overweight already. All the adults are college graduates. They know all about healthy eating.

  11. Karen, Firstly, it’s now called Family and Consumer Education or some variation of that. When I was a sub I got to know the teacher. Like myself, she had real world experience and we hit it off. So, she would ask me to sub when she was absent. I love cooking, so it was a natural. The one exception was waffle day. I had never used a waffle iron and only one of the female students had..it was a batter mess!

    Secondly, I agree w/ you. The reasons for obesity are numerous and education is not a primary reason. The corporate fast food industry, and the food industry in general are to blame. Parents are to blame for not getting kids off their ass and play. In that regard, I do like the “Play 60” campaign. The former govt. pyramid is also to blame. It was flat ass wrong. I consider those the top 3 reasons.

  12. There are many reasons for obesity starting with personal choice, oversize portions at restaurants, fast food that is high in sodium and fat, the labeling of food as fat free but somehow we forget it’s not calorie free and so on. And then there’s our government (EEOC) acting as enablers by making obesity a disability.

  13. It’s not OK for a trainer or coach to work someone until, or in a manner that, gets them hurt. That’s just nuts and abusive on its face. If she suffered injuries then she should be compensated. She signed up for weight loss and a workout, not a death-match or a Rocky movie redux.

  14. Weak claim, but also what LK said. Substantive injuries should be compensated if they exist and would not exist but for the actions of the trainers/producers.

  15. I almost never watch such shows and definitely haven’t seen the one in question. Maybe there was abuse and maybe there wasn’t. Without video, one can’t know. Maybe Pagliarolo was abused, or maybe she just didn’t want to exercise.

    Military boot camps would be considered abuse by someone who doesn’t want to participate in them, and oft times it is abuse, yet those who enter willingly usually don’t consider it to be. The only “fitness reality show” I ever saw was about a 500 pound 20-something who once played football. He did the trainer’s workouts without complaint because he’d been through those sorts of workouts in the past and understood the need. It wouldn’t surprise me if Pagliarolo has never done any intense exercise or sporting activity in her life and saw all physical exertion as “abuse”.

    There are many cases of athletes being overworked and killed by coaches and there are cases of people who say they “want to get fit” or “want to be healthy” but they don’t want to exercise or change what they eat. I’ve seen abusive coaches when I was in high school, and I’ve seen people seeking magic cures while unwilling to work out at all. Pagliarolo is likely not at either end but somewhere in between – the question is, how far which way?

  16. Sounds like another person who wanted a magic bullet cure. Any time you want to achieve a miraculous result in a short amount of time – you better expect a boot camp experience. Common Sense!

  17. It is rightly said that ‘slow and steady wins the race’……BUT she was in hurry to lose her belly which again reminds me of another saying “HASTE MAKES WASTE”…..It is a learning for everyone who wants to lose weight FAST!!!

  18. If it’s anything like my experience with a biggest loser program, we were told if we said no to anything, we would be punished with 50 sit ups, etc. or kicked out of the program. When you want so badly to lose weight, you’re willing to sign waivers excusing them from responsibility if you’re injured.

    Over half the group ended up needing surgery as a result of inappropriate activity. It’s ridiculous to take obese couch potatoes who haven’t as much as walked around the block in years and force them to exercise like someone training for the Olympics. I think these programs go too fast and too hard. Nobody should lose large amounts of weight in a short time; and they should gradually increase their exercise over time to build themselves up. I know of someone who had a heart attack in one of these programs.

    My experience was that the trainers knew less than I did about what was healthy and safe. One was told by her superior that she was too nice, because she wasn’t obnoxious like the other trainers. I had never seen the Biggest Loser show, so I wasn’t prepared for this. I asked before signing the contract if it might be too much for me. I was told that it would challenge me, but it wouldn’t be too bad. Well, that was the opinion of someone who did train Olympic athletes. She had no idea how to work with average people who were unable to do one sit up.

    I was exercising at a heart rate way above what my doctor recommended; but I was trusting “the professionals” to know what they were doing. I expected them to know what someone of my weight and age should be doing. I ended up in the emergency room and never should have put my faith in them.

    I’ve also had problems with my knees ever since. I wish I’d never gotten involved in that program.

  19. People need to take responsible for their own choices. It is so easy for people today to blame anything or anyone for what is their own fault. Shame on you if you can’t control your eating ,your lack of self discipline. How easy it must be to blame others for your own short comings. Suck it up and stop blaming others sueing just your lazy way of cashing in.

  20. Dolores is absolutely right. I watched every episode with Christina on it and even at the time I thought they were working her too hard just to imitate “Biggest Loser”. It was all done for ratings value. When the girl asked a TV cook for help losing weight I doubt she anticipated that they would work her that hard for their own gain rather than do what was best for her. She trusted them as experts and they made her feel like she’d better follow their advice or she would be doing herself a disservice (and likely breaking an agreement she had made with the show). Talk about pressure!

    If anyone wants to see evidence of the trainer pushing her beyond what she was able to do, it was all filmed and shown on the TV show. She is on the screen visibly upset and telling everyone she could not keep up with what they were asking of her. Instead of trying to work with her, they only pushed her all the harder and then blamed her for not working hard enough or caring about herself enough when she could not keep up. Instead of believing her, they acted like she was just being lazy. I don’t think she was. I think Christina was doing as well as she could. It’s all on camera. I just think that as others here have said, being so out of shape it was hard for her to keep up with the level of work they were asking of her.

    Some people have said she should not have expected to lose so much weight so soon – Wait a minute – The experts were responsible for that. She trusted them to know how much she could realistically lose in a given amount of time. If they thought at any time that she was not up to the demands involved in that time frame, they could have changed the goal loss to make it more realistic. That was not her responsibility – she was just a high school kid. Oh, but it wouldn’t have been as ratings-worthy if they didn’t do a big wow transformation ala Biggest Loser, and so they pushed her rather than did what was right for her.

    Also, she was in fact injured as a result of the trainer intimidating her to climb up a hill despite Christina telling her on camera that she did not feel up to it at that point (note that this was after she had already done several hours of rigorous exercise and was likely exhausted). She ended up twisting her ankle and breaking several bones in her leg and had to be air-lifted off the hill, which was all shown on camera, much to her probable humiliation. Speaking of humiliation, I believe that was a word that appeared in the lawsuit terminology as I have seen it reported.

    In addition, I seem to remember that Christina had ambitions of becoming a lawyer. She is no dummy and I applaud her for taking steps to defend herself. After having appeared as an “viewer/audience guest” on the Rachael Ray Show myself (coincidentally at the same time Christina’s segments were airing), I saw first hand how the show was primarily in business to make itself look good and like it wanted to help viewers, when in fact it was primarily using them to further its own ends. In my segment I was brought on to discuss symptoms of menopause, specifically relating to moodiness and whether my family and friends had noticed that I wasn’t always so “nice” at times. Much to my surprise when the cameras started rolling, they ended up titling the segment “Mean Menopause” and the guest author who was interviewing me took that angle with it – I was not aware that I was going to be supposedly on board with being called “mean” during menopause, and to be honest I felt that the show mislead me. If I had known in advance that they were going to use that word with regard to my symptoms, I would not have agreed to it and asked that a different word be used. I didn’t want people to think I was agreeing that menopause had made me mean. So I know first hand how the Rachael Ray show can use bait and switch tactics to get you involved in things you did not sign on to be involved in!

  21. Eat anything, just be careful with quantities. It is a slow process, remember, we don’t gain weight over night, so don’t expect to lose it over night. Trainers that yell when a person can’t do an exercise, should be removed as a licensed trainer, that is abuse.

    Now, Rachel Ray, she is the worst person to be promoting weight loss. All she cooks is carbs related, pasta, pasta, pasta and all kind of burgers. In my opinion, she is done in Foodnetwork, she has nothing new to offer. When a celebrity starts appearing on different channels doing the same thing, they burn themselves and people get tired.

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