1. Entertainment
Send to a Friend via Email
Diane Anderson-Minshall

'Storage Wars' Allegations of Fraud

By December 12, 2012

Follow me on:

Dave Hester formerly of Storage Wars

A&E and the producers of the channel's hit reality show, Storage Wars are being sued for wrongful termination and fraud.

Bringing the lawsuit is former Storage Wars star Dave Hester (pictured), who was portrayed as the show's 'villain' for three seasons; but now claims the real villains are the show's production team.

Hester claims that nearly every element of the show is staged--including the contents of storage units and the outcome of auctions.

(More bizarrely, he also insists that the show also paid for female stars to undergo plastic surgery so they could increase their sex appeal.)

Setting aside the question of cast boob jobs, Hester's allegations aren't entirely new, and Storage Wars is hardly the first reality show accused of rigging the outcome. (See "New Allegations of Reality Show Rigging.")

(UPDATE December 13: Reality Blurred reports that Thom Beers, Executive Producer of Storage Wars admitted to scripting dialogue and "occasionally" moving items from one storage unit to another. )

But, Hester maintains the manipulation on Storage Wars has risen to a criminal level.

Is he right?

I've written an in-depth analysis of the case but the quick version is:

  1. All reality TV is intentionally deceptive. (Okay, maybe not all--as folks pointed out on an extended Twitter conversation, reality TV is a giant, diverse genre and can't be pigeonholed into one thing)
  2. But no court is likely to rule that every reality TV show is committing fraud by deceiving its audience.
  3. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't draw lines in the sand and punish shows that go too far.

What is too far? I'm not sure I know.

What do you think?

If Hester is right about the alleged manipulation do you think it was different from what other reality shows do? Do you think it was/should be illegal?

I think, as reality TV viewers, we need to have these kinds of conversations. We need to turn a critical eye to the genre we love and be willing to acknowledge its flaws.

I look forward to your comments--and to watching the drama of this lawsuit unfold.

(Maybe even more than I look forward to A&E's new show, Storage Wars: New York which premieres in January.)

Photo A&E.


December 12, 2012 at 6:03 pm
(1) Tara says:

I felt that the show was getting flimsy and giving me the feeling of deception regarding the same “big ticket item” scenarios played out in the show. I didn’t feel like filing a law suit…just not watching anymmore. Waste of my time if they’re going to repeatedly plant items of value just to play out the same old appraisal scene. SNORE YAWN Zzzzz.

December 12, 2012 at 6:23 pm
(2) Tom Jenkins says:

Dave Hester is a maggot and should be examined for controlled
substance abuse ie his mouth.
Just Go Away!

December 12, 2012 at 6:26 pm
(3) Alex says:

Dave Hester is the fraud. He claimed NEVER to make a bad deal…while all the other ‘contestants’ took their licks and kept on ‘playing.’

December 12, 2012 at 6:30 pm
(4) Sean says:

boing show with boring cast all of them

December 12, 2012 at 6:31 pm
(5) duende54 says:

I live near Hester’s shop in Newport Beach. He recently underwent a huge remodel of that shop. Just guessing it was the money from that show that paid for that. Kind of biting the hand the feeds you if you ask me. He doesn’t strike me as a real stand up guy and my guess is the lawsuit is to move the focus off of him on on to A&E.

December 12, 2012 at 6:32 pm
(6) tired of reality shows says:

Who cares. Reality shows are not reality! They are a waste of time. If you don’t like them don’t watch. If you do like them, don’t complain when you find out they are rigged–just watch them mindlessly like you are supossed to

December 12, 2012 at 6:35 pm
(7) rob w says:

Who cars if its real or fake. I watch it because it is entertaining. Isnt that the point. Am i crazy Brandy i kind of hot.

December 12, 2012 at 6:40 pm
(8) Tammy says:

If what Dave Hester says is true, doesn’t that mean that he played along? Doesn’t that make him as more of a scumbag since he went along with the ruse knowing full well that he was duping the public? Maybe the Storage Wars producers should be suing him…

December 12, 2012 at 6:41 pm
(9) Mike says:

Isn’t it amazing? Wasn’t Hester vowing not to do another show without getting a BIG RAISE not too long ago? He obviously did not get the requested raise and, now the show is FRAUD. They have already shot 4 episodes for this season without him. Additionally, if in fact, the show was a fraud, Hester was a part of the FRAUD FOR 3 SEASONS!!!! The guy is like his mouth, a big loser-Yuuup!!

December 12, 2012 at 6:46 pm
(10) Kort says:

Faked reality is intentional deception. Reenactment reality is polished reality. Is the viewer to think they get a winner practically every time they win a bid? I don’t think showing mostly profitable lockers is deceptive. Although it would be interesting to see how many lockers they get and make money and what how many they get that end up loosing them money.

December 13, 2012 at 2:38 am
(11) Fill says:

I like the show. It’s not like I have a vested interest in how truthful it is. They even play to the point that it’s made-for-tv at times. I enjoy it.

It also doesn’t bother me that they might ‘seed’ the storage units with items before an auction. Where it does get dicey is if the cast knows a particular unit is more valuable because of a planted item in advance than the other participating public at the auction. That technically isn’t legal to do with a game show (yes, it’s categorized as a game show when people participate and win ‘prizes’).

December 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm
(12) David Mac says:

We really need to look at all these shows that proclaim to be Reality TV programs. If they are changing the reality then they aren’t Reality. Simple as that. Actually we all should sue for how badly they lie to their audiences. The other side of this is the audiences are too stupid to figure out how fake these shows are. C’mon they bought a locker and found 2000 dollars in cash that the original owner would have used for rent. Really ?

December 17, 2012 at 9:18 pm
(13) Suzi says:

I am not saying “I told you so” b/c I haven’t watched the show enough times, and I wouldn’t say that anyway.. However, when watching the show, you can tell that these folks are amateur actors, and different scenes seem staged. I put a link to a Reality casting site. I belong there and I’ve seen castings for Storage Wars. I’ve seen castings for extras for a “popular reality show” in a restaurant setting… Nothing is real in reality TV! IMHO, I think a lot of people, including my husband and myself are so sick of reality tv, and have got into the best show ever – The Walking Dead. lol. Now that is real tv!

December 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm
(14) cat says:

I believe that ALL reality shows are scripted and manipulated for ratings.
The difference with ‘Storage Wars’ is that the people going to the auctions are paying with their own money and it is unfair of the producers to touch the lockers that the people are biding on. I think that Dave Hester is an ASS most of the time but he may have a case here.

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.