Dorothy Isabel: A&E Show First 48, Could You Please Stop Calling Me A Whore?
Or at least that's what Dorothy Isabel of Waco says she did when family members first told her that her likeness wound up on a 2007 episode of The First 48, a detective reality show on A&E. But Isabel claims she got nowhere; neither did her lawyer. So earlier this month, she filed a libel suit in an Austin federal court.
Isabel, who is originally from Dallas, was once charged with passing a hot check (the case was dismissed) and it's that mugshot that turned up on the episode, according to the suit. The show "affirmatively represents her to be 'Lady,' a prostitute, witness, and possible party to the murder [of] the subject of the episode," the suit states. "Despite multiple requests from Ms. Isabel's family and attorneys to stop airing the episode and to remove it from A&E's website, A&E has continued to air the episode."
"I think it just has to do with corporate media arrogance," Isabel's attorney, Vic Feazell, told Hair Balls. "...We got the pat answer that you always get on a libel case, 'We stand behind our story.' I think if they had bothered to look at it, they wouldn't be standing behind it."
Feazell said he didn't know how Isabel's photo even wound up in the episode in the first place, because she has absolutely no connection to the crime.
Isabell "fears she has become a gang target," according to the suit. "At this time, Ms. Isabel is not able to return to Dallas or visit her family, due to safety concerns."
Per the suit:
The key witness featured in the subject episode is a prostitute named 'Lady.' It is implied that Lady engaged in sexual activity with the murder victim immediately before the murder and might have witnessed the murder. Lady is brought in and interviewed by detectives on air, but her face is blurred out.
Later, a photograph mugshot is shown and identified as Lady. The person in the photograph is in fact Ms. Isabel, taken several years prior to the taping of this episode. After being interviewed, Lady leads the detectives to a suspect who is a known gang member. The episode suggests that Lady's help was the key to the suspect's conviction.
The suit alleges that A&E "intentionally misappropriated Ms. Isabel's likeness and image for its own benefit. Having an identity to tie into 'Lady's' character necessarily enhanced the credibility of the show and enticed the viewers."
We left a message for an A&E spokesman and will update if/when we hear back.