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Spelling suit about working moms' rights, attorney says

graphic December 12, 1997
Web posted at: 5:29 p.m. EST (2229 GMT)

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Executives at Spelling Entertainment are "a group of arrogant people, who think that whatever is good for Spelling is what they go with," an attorney prosecuting the entertainment company in a discrimination suit said in closing statements Thursday.

Actress Hunter Tylo signed a contract in February 1996 to join the cast of "Melrose Place." Five weeks later, she learned that she was pregnant and told the show's producers, who then fired her.

Tylo is now suing Spelling Television Inc. and Spelling Entertainment Group for pregnancy discrimination, wrongful termination and breach of contract. She is seeking unspecified damages.

Hunter Tylo
Hunter Tylo

As the jury of 10 women and two men listened, prosecuting attorney Nathan Goldberg described the case as one about the "right of the working mother to pursue a career and have a child without company executives telling them what to do."

"To the folks at Spelling, a woman that gets pregnant is not sexy, not even an actress. She becomes a piece of meat to be weighed at the Spelling butcher shop," Goldberg said.

Spelling Entertainment has argued that when Tylo became pregnant, she violated a clause in her contract barring her from undergoing a "material change of appearance."

In a deposition, Aaron Spelling himself described Tylo's intended "MP" role as a sexy seductress, a "vixen."

But Goldberg told jurors that the original character description used in the show's story arc and that went out to the trades was for a "dark-haired beauty, intense and driven -- though intelligent and charming." The words "sexy" and "vixen" were not ever used in the description, he said.

Tylo had given up a longtime job on the daytime soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful" to move into nighttime television on "Melrose Place." She has since returned to the "Bold and the Beautiful" cast.

"This was her step to the big time, this was her shot. Now it's gone," Goldberg added.

The defense was expected to begin its closing arguments in the month-long trial on Friday.


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