An Oklahoma man is suing the American version of Wife Swap over the show’s producers sending a gay man to live with him and his family as his half of the swap.
Jeffrey Bedford, who lives with his wife and kids outside Muskogee, is seeking $10 million in damages from Walt Disney – the parent company of ABC – the network, and the show’s production company RDF Media.
Bedford said he assumed he was swapping wives with a heterosexual couple and that he was “misled” and “threatened” by the producers. He also said Wife Swap producers refused to let him talk to his wife while the show was being taped.
According to 365gay.com, Bedford claims that when he told the producers he did not want a “gay wife,” they threatened not to tell him his wife’s location and would not pay for her to be sent home.
Bedford says the experience made his so emotionally distraught he suffered “physical and mental illness.”
An ABC spokesman said the contract for the show specified that the swapped spouse “could be either male or female.”
“The show is meant to challenge a family’s norms,” the spokesman told a local Muskogee newspaper, which first reported the suit over the weekend. The episode was taped in October 2004 but has not aired yet.
“We have a number of ‘Wife Swap’ episodes stockpiled,” the spokesman told a Muskogee paper. “Since each is self-contained, we don’t have to air them in any particular order, so I can’t predict when we’ll book this one.”
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