Dora the Explorer might be just a child, but she’s seriously upset with her bosses and has filed a lawsuit against them in the Supreme Court of the State of New York.
14-year-old Caitlin Sanchez provided the voice of Dora from 2007 until just recently, when she hit puberty and aged out of the job. She’s not the first Dora to be let go because she got too old to play a preschooler and she won’t be the last. But according to Balestriere Fariello, Sanchez’ lawyer, his client isn’t upset about no longer being Dora. She’s upset about not being fairly compensated for the work she did while she was Dora.
Fariello says that Sanchez and her family were pressured into signing “an unconscionable contract with convoluted, vague, and undefined terms that allowed producers of the Nickelodeon hit to exploit her.” He claims the family was not given time to speak to a lawyer before signing the contract and that the “defendants have repeatedly not provided Caitlin and her family with the information and explanations they sought, stringing the family along while Caitlin continued to provide valuable services.”
According to the lawsuit, Sanchez was paid about $5,000 per episode for her voice work on the show but received no compensation beyond a $40 per diem for the hundreds of hours she worked promoting the show around the country.
According to the Daily News, a Nickelodeon source says that Sanchez and her family were “treated to first-class hotels on the road, had their air and ground transportation paid for by the cable network and that the $40 was for incidental expenses.”
Correct me if I am wrong, but when your employer asks you to travel for business, it is generally expected that they will cover the costs of transportation, hotel and meals while on the road, right? This is in addition to paying you for the work done, not instead of.
The suit is also seeking compensation for merchandising, re-runs and recordings, which Fariello claims Sanchez was promised but never received.
Of course, this will all get sorted out in court and the truth will be revealed. But if that’s really all Sanchez was paid – $5,000 per episode and $40 for appearances – I’d say Nickelodeon did take advantage of her.
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