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Prison Inmates Sue Fox Network For Two Day Lockdown

Fox filmed some of their series 'Empire' in an actual prison in Chicago in 2015. Now, prisoners have filed a lawsuit against the network. They claim that the show's presence ended up putting them on lockdown for several days. Fox tried to get the case thrown out but a judge has ruled that it will proceed.

'Empire' is a Fox musical drama television series that some have dubbed the 'black "Dynasty."' The show revolves around a hip-hop artists entertainment company, and the wealthy family fighting over control of the company. Needless to say, drama ensues.

In 2015, two episodes of the show were filmed in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago. The inmates complain that they were locked in their dorms for days during the shooting so they wouldn't get in the way of filming. the filming took place between June 21-26, July 13-16 and August 23-26.

Legal guardians of two inmates filed the suit on behalf of the convicts. They claim the inmates' rights were violated at the time. During the time the show filmed, the inmates were deprived of the opportunity to go outside, to take their classes, or even to go to worship. They were only allowed to remain in their room, or in their 'pods', small common room areas between cells.

"The children for whom these facilities were intended, meanwhile, were ordered to remain in their cells," according to the lawsuit. "Their schooling continued in name only, visits from their families were interrupted, cut back or effectively eliminated, sick call requests were ignored and programs that are intended to help them overcome the problems that landed them at the [center] in the first place were canceled or interrupted."

Because they were on lockdown, visits from family members were canceled. A few inmates who needed to go to the infirmary were denied. The inmates complained that the restrictions were unreasonable. "The children ... were placed under restrictions more severe than those governing many adult jails," the lawsuit read, noting that the kids were going ‘stir crazy’ being cooped up.

Employees of the prison were reportedly ordered to work for the television crew at the time of the filming as well, taking attention away from their duties.

Fox initially argued that they couldn't be held responsible for violations, and tried to get the case thrown out of court. The judge decided that there is enough evidence that Fox colluded with jail officials to prompt the lockdown. The judge also notes that the network even profited from the effort, considering they charge from $600,000 to $750,000 per thirty-second ad spot in the show.

Cook County officials are also being sued for the violation.

Before Fox used the jail for shooting, the Chicago Tribune had written about the jail, noting that it was often considered 'crowded, unclean and poorly staffed'.

"For decades, the Cook County detention center was blasted as a depot where children were locked up in violent, unsanitary, overcrowded conditions,” the article read.

Source: MailOnline
Photo: YouTube

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