Bravo introduced Joe Gorga to RHONJ viewers as he raged at his son’s Christening. Gorga turned his infant son’s religious celebration into a battle royale: guests were punched, kicked, thrown, pushed – all because Gorga was unable to control his anger. With the addition of Joe and Melissa Gorga, RHONJ has become a series of vignettes wrapped in insults, screaming matches, threats, heartbreak and violence.
In fact, Bravo was unable to air most of the Punta Cana footage because of a lawsuit which alleged that Bravo and Sirens Media:
encourage, promote and demand that the cast of RHONJ engage in verbal and physical conflict with one another and members of the public, creating a culture, climate and/or atmosphere of confrontation, hostility and violence in order to attract viewers.
In Season 4, Gorga continued his failure/refusal to control his violent outbursts through out the season. During the Wakile pool party, Gorga raged at his sister, cursing within ear shot of the children.
In the season finale Gorga attacked Kim D at her own fashion show, calling her a scum of the earth, whore and accusing her of being high, etc. Fellow RHONJ castmates tweeted their support by indicating they admired Gorga for “rescuing his wife.” On what alternate Universe does a man bellow insults at a woman, call her scum and a whore in front of a crowd and is admired for doing it? Oh, yes the Faux Reality known as BravoTV.
Season 5 premieres on June 2, 2013. Several cast members, including Joe Gorga have been charged with assault and terrorist threats for causing bodily injury to a third party during filming. Notwithstanding the pending charges, Bravo is promoting Season 5 by previewing a brawl wherein Gorga attacks Joe Giudice (or so he tried.) The following are still shots of the melee:
QUESTION: Is Bravo liable for the Bravolebrities’ Raging Assaults in StilletoGate?
ANSWER: YES, Bravo and Siren Media had ample proof of Gorga’s propensity for violence, his outbursts were encouraged, within the scope of his employment and thus foreseeable.
In New Jersey, there is a legal doctrine that holds employers liable to third parties for the acts committed by an employee “within the scope of his employment.” The question as to whether the employee acted “within the scope” is fact sensitive to each case. Courts use the following factors to guide their analysis:
- whether the act is of the kind he is employed to perform;
- whether the act occurs substantially within the authorized time and space limits;
- whether the act is actuated, at least in part, by a purpose to serve the employer; and
- whether the use of force is foreseeable.
As to Factor (1), Gorga is employed to create drama. The fact that Bravo used Gorga’s outbursts to promote the upcoming season indicates that he is employed to participate and perpetuate these violent outbursts.
As to Factor (2), there is no question that the alleged assault occurred while filming on site. If reports are accurate, Siren Media prepared the site for the physical confrontation by rearranging furniture and putting security into place.
As to Factor (3), the violent outburst served Bravo’s purpose to create the type of over the top drama to attract viewers and pump up ratings.
Regarding Factor (4), Bravo has filmed Gorga’s violent outbursts for years. Foreseeability of the employee’s act is “crucial” to a finding of liability and Gorga’s outbursts are easily documented.
In the instant matter, Gorga’s repeated consistent rages (without consequence by Bravo) make it clear that his violent behavior is both foreseeable and within the scope of his employment. Thus, Bravo may once again be forced to pay for the bad behavior of it’s Bravolebrities.
The aforementioned analysis deals with the civil liability associated with injuries/damages caused by Bravolebrities.