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CBS sued over televised
roommate knife incident

By Brett Martel, The Associated Press
Friday July 05, 2002

Big Brother 2 contestant
says network should not
have televised her assailant 


NEW ORLEANS – A contestant who had a knife held to her throat on the TV reality series “Big Brother 2” is suing CBS, alleging the network never should have allowed the assailant on the show because of his past arrests. 

During the show, fellow contestant Justin Sebik put a knife to Krista Stegall’s throat while kissing her and asked if she would be mad if he killed her. Sebik maintained he was joking but was kicked off the show. 

Sebik, a bartender from New Jersey, had been arrested on assault charges in 1996 and was charged with assault and theft in 1997, according to the lawsuit. He also had shown signs of aggression toward other people on the show before the knife incident, the lawsuit alleges. 

“I don’t think there’s any doubt (CBS) made a huge mistake letting him in and keeping him in,” said Stegall’s attorney, Clayton Burgess. 

Stegall, a former waitress from Opelousas, La., and now a morning radio personality in nearby Lafayette, filed the lawsuit last week in New Orleans seeking unspecified damages from the company. Several production companies and their insurers are also listed as defendants. 

“We think there is no merit to this lawsuit and we are prepared to defend it vigorously,” CBS spokeswoman Nancy Carr said. 

The contestants in “Big Brother 2” lived together in a house and were cut off from the outside world. They plotted to have each other evicted by a vote of fellow house guests each week; the last remaining contestant won $500,000. 

CBS is working on a third “Big Brother” series for the fall.