LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A former “The Price Is Right” model who claims she was forced to quit and sexually harassed says she was stunned when a male producer reprimanded her while she was half nude in the dressing room, but acknowledges he never kept her from leaving.
Lanisha Cole filed her lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court in September 2011. She named as defendants two of the show’s producers, Michael G. Richards and Adam Sandler — not the actor– and the production company, FremantleMedia North America.
Cole is a former colleague of one-time “TPIR” model Brandi Cochran, a Stevenson Ranch resident who won more than $8.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages against the show’s producers this week in a pregnancy discrimination case.
Cole is a 30-year-old Pasadena native. She started working on the show in 2003 and alleges her mistreatment began in December 2009, when Richards allegedly ceased talking to her. She alleges he gave favorable treatment to another model, Amber Lancaster, with whom he was involved in a relationship, the suit states.
Lancaster showed Cole text messages from Richards that were stored on her phone, the suit states.
Sandler walked into Cole’s dressing room in September 2010 without knocking and reprimanded her in front of her peers as she stood wearing only a thong bikini underwear bottom, according to the suit.
Cole’s account of the encounter with Sandler are contained within her deposition, portions of which are cited by defense attorneys in favor of their argument that the model’s case should be dismissed. They say she never reported the alleged incident to the company’s human resources department, that Sandler never made any comments about her body and that he did not try and block her from leaving.
Defense attorneys also maintain Cole was insubordinate to Richards, questioning him in front of other models whether he remodeled the dressing room for their benefit or for that of the show’s celebrity guests. Richards had told the models he made the improvements on their behalf, according to the defense lawyers’ court papers.
A hearing on the dismissal motion is scheduled Jan. 22 before Judge Debre Katz Weintraub.
According to Cole, the dressing room incident stemmed from her inability to respond to a routine on-stage comment made to her by host Drew Carey because she did not have a microphone.
Cole says that after she went to the models’ dressing room to change during a subsequent commercial break, Sandler suddenly came through the curtains and asked why she did not have her microphone so she could answer Carey.
Cole said she told Sandler that she did not have time to put the device on because she needed more time to get dressed and that the director was “screaming” at the stage manager to get the model out there.
Asked by a Fremantle attorney what she wearing when Sandler walked in, Cole replied, “Just my underwear, my thong,” Cole replied.
“You were not wearing a bra?,” the defense lawyer asked.
“No,” Cole replied.
Asked by the lawyer if Sandler was preventing her from leaving in some way, Cole replied, “He wasn’t blocking me from going backwards, no.”
She said she was too surprised by what was happening to try and hide behind a couch in the room.
“When you’re in a moment like that … part of you is in shock and another part of you is … like you just can’t believe what was going on,” Cole said. “But I know for a fact that I couldn’t believe that I was standing there naked and he was still talking to me without even trying to cover his eyes or at least apologize or something. He said nothing about the fact that I was standing in front of him nude.”
Asked by the producers’ attorney whether she reached for something to cover herself, Cole said, “There was nothing in front of me.”
Questioned whether she told Sandler that she was nude and that he should leave, Cole replied, “It’s obvious that I was naked. I don’t have to tell him.”
Cole quit the show three months later out of frustration with the production company’s refusal to properly investigate her complaints, the suit states.
(No Ratings Yet)