It’s been just a little more than a year since Bret Michaels filed a lawsuit against the organizers of the Tony Awards. The singer suffered a serious head injury in 2009 after he and his band Poison performed on the live telecast. Just this week, the parties announced they had reached a settlement.
The injury occurred when a large piece of scenery fell on Michaels’ head as he was exiting the stage. At first, he believed the blow had only broken his nose and left him with a laceration on his lip. Several months later, according to court documents, Michaels was hospitalized. His doctors discovered he had suffered a brain hemorrhage; a stroke followed. Michaels says he almost died from his injuries and was not able to perform for some time.
In an interesting twist, Michaels included CBS in the lawsuit. His claim against the Tony Awards organizers was based on their control of the set piece that fell on him as well as their failure (according to Michaels) to tell him there would be a scenery change following his performance.
But CBS, he said, televised the show and did not excise the accident from the broadcast. “Live” broadcasts are, of course, shown on a seven-second delay. The network could have censored the accident just as they would censor inappropriate language. Michaels said CBS failed to do so and allowed the video clip to be circulated on the Internet, where tens of millions of people watched it.
The exact terms of the settlement are confidential. In a press statement, both CBS and the Tonys said they had come to “an amicable resolution” of the suit through mediation.
Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Bret Michaels settles lawsuit over 2009 Tony Awards mishap he claimed caused brain injury,” Associated Press, May 15, 2012