Two NCIS: New Orleans actors and a jewelry store owner are suing CBS after they were held at gunpoint by police, who believed they were committing an actual armed robbery.
The actors were recreating a ‘guerilla-style’ heist at a jewelry store on October 18, 2017, however, the network had failed to warn neighbouring businesses, notify police and obtained proper permits.
As a result, one of the stores next door called police after seeing the actors wearing ski masks, carrying fake guns and shouting, ‘This is a robbery!’
Police armed with assault rifles are said to have burst into the store and held up the actors, who were ‘seconds away from being shot dead’ if they made a single wrong move.
The plaintiffs, actors Justin T Lebrun and Bradford Roublow, desperately tried to tell officers they were filming for a show, but they were pushed to the ground and put in handcuffs.
In the lawsuit, they say officers told them after the event that police were coming in ‘to kill [them]’, with one officer reportedly telling them, ‘If anyone had moved, we’d kill you.’
Lebrun, Roublow and store owner Sulemon Virani are now suing CBS over the ‘terrifying and traumatising experience’ they all suffered.
Both Lebrun and Roublow are said to have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and they both ‘continue to experience significant emotional and psychological trauma due to the near-death experience’.
Following the incident, the store, Sol’s Jewelry, is said to have experienced a significant drop in custom, after ‘word of mouth spread that it had been the site of a brazen daylight armed robbery’.
The three men say they were approached by producers from NCIS in October 2017, and were asked whether they’d be interested in recreating the armed robbery that took place. All three of them say they were led to believe it would be a ‘traditional television shoot’ and that producers would obtain the necessary permits and let the relevant authorities know what would be taking place.
As per , the lawsuit states:
CBS, in order to get a ‘guerilla style’ realistic shot for one of its flagship shows, tricked and misled Mr Virani, Mr Roublow, and Mr LeBrun, and nearly got them killed.
The perils of ‘guerilla-style’ television and film production are well known in the industry, and that’s why we have laws regulating productions.
CBS, a major corporation making millions from this hugely profitable show, flouted those laws and put Mr Virani, Mr Roublow, and Mr LeBrun in great peril.
It’s unknown exactly how much the three men are seeking in damages.
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