Beauty entrepreneur and Marini Naturals Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Michelle Ntalami has sued South African pay TV provider M-Net for allegedly damaging her reputation.
Ntalami filed a petition at the High Court through her lawyers Kilonzo & Company Advocates against the TV channel over the use of her image in its popular series, Real Housewives of Nairobi, without her consent.
In the petition, the business entrepreneur claimed that on November 8, 2022, Ntalami was invited by Susan Kaittany, one of the show’s cast members, as a dinner guest at a Nairobi Hotel.
She stated that there was a filming crew at the event but she claimed that she was not offered a consent form or image rights release agreement, adding that the crew informed her that someone else would be taking care of the legal matters.
Cast of the upcoming show Real Housewives of Nairobi. /SHOWMAX
Ntalami added that she was made to believe that someone would reach out to her with the agreement, though maintained that she did not consent to any videotape, audio or film connected to the TV series.
The series launched and aired on February 23, 2023, on M-Net with Ntalami featuring in it. Court documents indicated that she featured in Episodes 1 and 2 and a Reunion episode.
Ntalami further noted that after the launch of the series she inquired Kaittany whether she was offered any actor’s contract, image rights release, or consent agreement, and if she got any compensation for the same.
She added that Kaittany informed her that she entered into such an agreement and was compensated for all her appearances, including the Reunion Episode.
Ntalami also claimed that when the show was launched, Minne Kariuki Njuguna, who was named as the defendant in the suit according to court documents seen by Viral Tea, began cyberbullying her and uttering false, malicious words about her.
“She attacked the plaintiff’s personality, her character, her good social standing, her business and social brand and her business- Marini Naturals,” her lawyer lamented in the court papers.
She accused Kariuki of uttering the malicious words in the show and in one of the episodes, Kariuki allegedly refers to Ntalami as “The boss of Marini Naturals, yet she is wearing a *** wig”.
On March 2, M-Net allegedly aired Episode 2 of the Real Housewives of Nairobi and stated: “I told her you know what, we write cheques, you write Insta stories and post.”
The Marini Naturals proprietor is seeking compensation by an award of damages and also wants the court to order the removal and deletion of all images and videos referring to her in episodes 1 and 2, as well as the Reunion.
She’s demanding that her image on the reality show be erased from all of M-Net’s TV networks, online and on social media platforms.
Ntalami stated that she is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning entrepreneur and that the words were calculated to disparage her in her trade and business.
She further stated that she has an exceptional social standing and influence with millions of followers on various media platforms and that Kariuki exploited her reputation, personal brand, trade and social media influence. It is her argument that Kariuki’s social media platforms on Instagram, TikTok, and X pages have since amassed over 200,000 followers.
Ntalami wants the court to order an award of general damages for commercial profits and exploitation of her name, reputation, social media influence and brand.
M-Net was yet to respond to Ntalami’s lawsuit at the time of publishing, having listed in the suit as defendants under Electronic Media Network Proprietary Limited as well as Young Rich Television Limited and D&R Studios.
Ntalami has listed several witnesses including Damaris Too and Kaittany in the case.