French court says being on reality television is work

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French court say appearing in reality television is work and participants should receive an employment contract by TV companies.

Paris – A Paris court ruled on Wednesday that appearing in reality television shows constitutes work and that participants should therefore be given an employment contract by TV companies.

"Production companies can no longer use individuals like they have been doing for years, making them do whatever they want 24 hours a day," said lawyer Jeremie Assous after the ruling by the final court of appeal.

Assous was representing three clients from a show called "Ile de Tentation" ("Temptation Island") in which viewers follow couples who are separated on a tropical island where professional "tempters" try to seduce them.

The court said the decisive criterion for its ruling was the element of subordination between the employer and participants in the show, even if the activity was recreational.

The case was first successfully taken against the Glem production company, now called TF1 Production, in 2005 but went through a series of appeals before the latest ruling.

TF1 Production chairman Edouard Boccon-Gibod warned that after Wednesday's decision a wide range of television programmes featuring ordinary people and not actors would be affected.

AFP / Expatica

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