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Friday
Oct082010

Voice of Dora the Explorer Sues Over Alleged Unfair Contract 

Photo Courtesy - PRNewsFoto/ Nickelodeon(NEW YORK) -- The New York Daily News reports 14-year-old Caitlin Sanchez, who has voiced the popular Nickelodeon character Dora the Explorer for the last two years, is suing the channel, claiming she and her parents were pressured into signing a contract and then cheated out of millions of dollars.

Calling the contract Sanchez signed "unconscionable," the Sanchez family's lawyer, John Balestriere, said, "I've never seen as convoluted and inscrutable a contract as I've seen here," before adding that Nickelodeon deprived his client of "millions, perhaps tens of millions."  It's unclear how much Caitlin and her parents are seeking.

The suit, filed Wednesday in New York City, claims Sanchez and her parents were pressured into signing a deal with Nickelodeon, without a lawyer to assist them.  They allege they were given 22 minutes to review the contract amidst threats that Caitlin would lose the role if she didn't sign then and there.

A spokesman for Nickelodeon said the suit is "baseless."

The suit also states, "Defendants used Caitlin, unjustly enriching themselves of millions of dollars in profits from the series and branded products, which Caitlin preformed and promoted."  Balestriere added both sides tried to settle the matter, but the Daily News reports discussions ended "when Nickelodeon and [parent company] Viacom began negotiating in bad faith."

It's unclear if Caitlin is still providing the voice of Dora.  The Nickelodeon spokesman said, "Unfortunately, Caitlin's voice changed and she was no longer able to portray the Dora character, as happened with the actress who originated the role.  Caitlin's contract was extensively negotiated through her agent and in compliance with her union.  She was well-compensated for her work and for personal appearances."

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