According to The Hollywood Reporter, mass media conglomerate Viacom was forced to pay millions of dollars after the MTV reality show T.I.’s Road to Redemption aired images of a dead man in its debut episode. The episode, which aired in February of 2009, is titled, “45 Days to Go: You Are Responsible for Your Own Actions.”
With the reality series chronicling T.I.’s life directly before he underwent sentencing for weapons possession charges, the production brought the rapper to a funeral home in which the body of Joseph Williams was shown. While Williams’ “face was reportedly shown out of focus” according to the Reporter, the man’s family went on to sue Viacom over claims of invasion of privacy, violation of likeness, and interference with the family’s contract with the funeral home.
The latest news comes as Viacom has filed a lawsuit against its own insurance company AXIS Insurance with the hopes of being reimbursed for its legal costs to reach a settlement in the case. Viacom’s complaint is aimed at AXIS on the grounds that the settlement and legal costs fall under the purview of the company’s insurance policy, which has a total limit of $5 million and limitation of $3 million for “Each Loss” according to the Reporter. AXIS holds that the broadcast misstep accounts for “a single occurrence” which would put the insurance company on the line for only the $3 million amount. Viacom’s suit aims to avoid paying any of the costs and also seeks punitive damages.
T.I.’s Road to Redemption aired for nine episodes in the Winter and Spring of 2009 on MTV. During the lead-up to his sentencing trial, the series showcased T.I.’s personal life including the release of his album Paper Trail and birth of one of his sons.