Val Chmerkovskiy SUED Over Photo

Published on February 1, 2016

VAL CHMERKOVSKIY is facing a $6 million (£3.75 million) lawsuit from a 16-year-old girl who alleges the DANCING WITH THE STARS professional caused her severe emotional distress by posting a picture on social media mocking her appearance.

Val Chmerkovskiy

The girl, who has Down’s Syndrome, claims she was at a baseball game in 2008 and someone took a picture of her drinking a soda. The photographer captioned the image, “Everything that’s wrong with America”, and it soon went viral.

Chmerkovskiy reposted the image on his Facebook.com page three weeks ago, editors at TMZ.com report, with the caption, “Letting your kid become obese should be considered child abuse.”

The girl claims that due to Chmerkovskiy, and later CBS News, posting the image on social media, that it subsequently went viral again and she was left humiliated.

The girl’s mother sent several emails to Chmerkovskiy asking him to take down the image, which he eventually did. However, he responded with a post on Facebook that read in part, “I am truly sorry for the lack of sensitivity… You’re handicapping your kid, and they’re defenseless (sic)… They don’t know better. That’s why you’re there.”

In a later post on 12 January (16), Chmerkovskiy revealed the nature of the pair’s private messages by posting a screenshot of an apparent Twitter.com message to the girl’s mother.

In a message, which he shared with his fans on Facebook, he wrote, “Thank you for understanding me. My mother is heavy set, and has been ever since I was born. She’s the most beautiful woman in the world. Who stressed healthy eating and went out of her way to provide her family with a healthy meal and a healthy lifestyle. She sacrificed a lot to see her kids live well, mind body and soul… I have no desire to discriminate or shame, I just think people should have a little more knowledge and take more responsibility when it comes to their children’s diet. That’s all. It’s not about what I find beautiful or not, it’s about what’s healthy or not. Anyway, thank you.”

Val Chmerkovskiy

The lawsuit claims the reason the girl has weight issues is because of her condition, and alleges defamation, emotional distress, and invasion of privacy.

The girl is seeking $6 million each from Chmerkovskiy and CBS News, and $600,000 (£375,000) from the photographer who originally took the image.

Chmerkovskiy has yet to comment on the lawsuit.

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