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Ntalami takes on South African TV giant in 'Real Housewives' war

 Marini Naturals CEO Michelle Ntalami. [File, Standard]

A Kenyan has sued South African-based TV channel M-Net for using her images in a reality TV show without her consent.

In a case filed at the High Court in Nairobi, Marini Naturals Chief Executive Officer Michelle Ntalami is seeking compensation for alleged defamation and use of her image and voice. 

She has named Minne Kariuki Njuguna, Young Rich Television Ltd, M-NET and D&R Studios Ltd as the defendants.

Ntalami claims that on November 8, last year, she was invited by Susan Kaittany for dinner and the launch of her Sip & Scent event at the Tribe Hotel. She said there was a filming crew at the event.

She claims to have asked one of the Young Rich Television and D&R Studios crew members about her actor’s agreement or consent form, but was not offered.

Ntalami says she was informed that someone else was responsible for that.

She claims to have been made to believe that during post-production, someone would reach out to her with the agreement.

When the Real Housewives of Nairobi show launched on February 23 on M-NET, Ntalami was featured. Court documents indicate she featured in Episodes 1 and 2, and a Reunion episode.

 Marini Naturals CEO Michelle Ntalami. [Felix Kavii, Standard]

Ntalami says she was also featured in commercials, advertisements and on various social media pages of M-NET and D&R Studios.

She says after the launch, she inquired from Kaittany whether she was offered any actor’s contract, image rights or consent agreement, and if she got any compensation.

Ntalami claims Kaittany admitted she had entered into an agreement and was compensated for all her appearances.

As soon as the show was launched, she claims, Minne started bullying her. Malicious words, according to Ntalami, were used against her on the show, on television and radio shows, and on social media. The defamatory words, she says, were meant to disparage her business, adding that she has suffered damages as a result.

Minne, she states, intended to commercially exploit her social influence and reputation by printing and wearing a T-shirt with the defamatory words.

Ntalami is claiming general damages for commercial exploitation and aggravated damages for the republication of the defamatory words.

Ntalami and Kaittany, on September 25, wrote to the Communications Authority of Kenya seeking to have M-NET content investigated.

“Through the production and broadcasting of, The Real Housewives of Nairobi, a television program that they own and broadcast on Showmax and other affiliate platforms owned by themselves, they have permitted and profited from content that is defamatory, obscene and offensive and have used the same content to promote this program for the purposes of commercial gain and profit,” says the letter.

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