Judge: Jon Gosselin must stop unofficial events

AP News
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Posted: Dec 11, 2009 8:20 AM

A Maryland judge ruled Thursday that Jon Gosselin must stop making media appearances and endorsements the TLC network claim violate his contract _ like a Las Vegas pool party with bikini-clad women the celebrity dad recently hosted.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Michael D. Mason granted TLC a preliminary injunction, pending the outcome of an April 19 trial.

Gosselin's lawyer Mark Heller said he was confident Gosselin would eventually win the case and suggested TLC, owned by Silver Spring-based Discovery Communications, should be anxious to settle so they can resume the reality show "Jon & Kate Plus 8."

The show ended recently amid the legal dispute and the Gosselins' pending divorce.

"Jon Gosselin holds the key to the 'Jon & Kate Plus 8' brand," Heller said.

Gosselin's lawyers claim the contract allows certain media appearances. The judge said they could ask him to modify his order, but that wasn't his reading of the contract.

TLC Chief Operating Officer Edward Sabin testified that Gosselin has made many media appearances and endorsements that aren't permitted in the contract. He also complained that Gosselin drank alcohol and hung out with women in public, which was at odds with the wholesome image of the show. He said public statements Gosselin made about the show and the network were embarrassing.

In particular, Sabin mentioned a pool party that Gosselin hosted at the MGM Grand Hotel in Los Vegas. TLC told Gosselin not to do it.

"What we wanted to avoid was exactly what happened," Sabin said. "The next day in the tabloids were photos of Mr. Gosselin surrounded by bikini-clad women."

The Gosselins earned $22,500 per episode under their latest contract, a figure previously revealed by Jon Gosselin on Larry King Live _ another media appearance TLC said violated the contract. When the show started, the family earned just $2,000 an episode.

Gosselin has filed a countersuit claiming TLC's contract violated Pennsylvania child labor laws. His lawyers said he should be free to earn money as a media personality, especially now that the show is over.

TLC is trying "to preclude him from going out and trying to support his eight children," Heller said.

Heller didn't directly participate in the legal proceedings Thursday, though he was present and was the subject of much of Sabin's testimony. Sabin said relations with Gosselin worsened after Heller began representing him.

Gosselin was not in court, and his lawyers presented no evidence.

Sabin said once Gosselin started behaving unpredictably, the network decided to shift the focus to Kate Gosselin as the single mother of eight.

At that point, according to Sabin, Heller demanded TLC release Gosselin from the provisions of the contract that bar other media appearances. If TLC wouldn't do that, Heller said Gosselin would go to the media and the courts to block the filming of his children.

Sabin said he didn't believe the concern Gosselin has expressed about the effect of the filming on the children. But faced with a parent's objections, TLC decided to stop the show.