Michelle Ntalami sues M-Net, actress Minne Kariuki for ‘damaging her reputation’

Renowned entrepreneur and social media influencer Michelle Ntalami has moved to court seeking compensation from South African pay TV provider M-Net for allegedly damaging her reputation and using her image in its popular series ‘Real Housewives of Nairobi’ without her consent.

According to the petition filed at the High Court, Ntalami says that the show’s producers included her in three episodes without her consent for purposes of “promoting the programme and for commercial gain”.

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 video 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 has also sued Housewives of Nairobi cast member Minne Kariuki, Young Rich Television Ltd and D&R Studios, which specialise in the production audio and visual content.

“The plaintiff seeks general damages from the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants for producing, publishing and distributing on radio, television, print and digital media, the false and malicious words spoken and written by the 1st defendant of and concerning the plaintiff,” she said in an affidavit filed in court.

The Real Housewives of Nairobi is broadcast on Showmax, an on-demand streaming platform, and its affiliates owned by M-Net. Ntalami alleges that M-Net profited from content that is defamatory, obscene and offensive.

Dinner party

According to court papers, trouble allegedly started on November 8, 2022 when Ntalami was invited by show cast member Susan Kaittany as a dinner guest at a Nairobi Hotel.

She says there was a filming crew at the event, but alleges that she was not offered a consent form or image rights release agreement. She alleges that the crew informed her someone else would be handling the legal matters.

According to her lawyer Kethi Kilonzo, Ntalami was made to believe that someone would reach out to her with the agreement. She maintains she did not consent to any videotape, audio or film connected to the TV series.

She alleges that as soon as the show was launched, Minne Kariuki 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,” Kilonzo said in suit papers.

She says the malicious words were uttered by Ms Kariuki, produced by Young Rich TV and D&R Studios and distributed by M-Net.

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 writes Insta stories and post.”

Ntalami says she’s an internationally acclaimed, award-wining entrepreneur, and that the words were calculated to disparage her in her trade and business. She further says 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 award of general damages for commercial profits and exploitation of her name, reputation, social media influence and brand.

She has listed several witnesses including Damaris Too and Ms Kaittany as witnesses in the case.

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