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Thursday, 13 June, 2002, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
Couple sue over TV corpse 'prank'
Las Vegas
The Ryan family were on holiday in Las Vegas
A couple who found what they thought was a dead body in their hotel room are suing TV channel MTV for $10m (6.8m) for playing an elaborate practical joke on them.

James and Laurie Ann Ryan walked into their Las Vegas room to discover what seemed to be a murder victim covered in blood, their lawsuit says.

But then TV host Ashton Kutcher appeared, and told them it was all part of a "guerrilla-style Candid Camera" show, Harassment, which is currently in development.

The couple are claiming invasion of privacy, infliction of emotional distress and fraud, among other things.

Blood

The Hard Rock Hotel and Mr Kutcher - star of the film Dude, Where's My Car? - were also named in the lawsuit.

The incident happened during the couple's January holiday from their home in Washington DC.

They went into the hotel room and "discovered what appeared to be a dead human body covered and surrounded by blood, evidently the victim of a homicide," the suit said.

Their exit was blocked by two actors posing as security guards, and another dressed as a paramedic went in before Mr Kutcher appeared.

Lawsuit

An MTV spokeswoman said the incident was filmed as part of a pilot episode for Harassment, which has not been broadcast.

The future of the show was uncertain, she said. The hotel has declined to comment.

The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles in April, but later moved to a federal court.

It comes after a pair of teenage girls sued the network in April 2001 after being sprayed with human excrement for the show Dude, This Sucks.

MTV apologised and promised never to show the footage, but the suit remains in litigation, the girls' attorney said.

See also:

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