BET Slapped With Lawsuit Over Demise Of Unofficial Facebook Fan Page For ‘The Game’

By David Cohen 

Page administrators of successful but unofficial fan pages may want to learn from the experiences of Stacey Mattocks, whose page about BET comedy-drama series “The Game” reached 6.2 million likes before the cable network allegedly asked the social network to delete the page.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Hollywood, Esq. blog detailed the ongoing saga between Mattocks and BET, which started when the show was airing on The CW in 2008, and Mattocks created her fan page, and culminated in a lawsuit she filed against BET Monday, alleging tortious interference, breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, and copyright infringement.

After The CW scrapped the series in May 2009, BET reached a deal with CBS to produce new episodes of “The Game,” and the cable network brought the show back on-air in January 2011, at which point Mattocks told Hollywood, Esq. her page had 750,000 likes and was growing at some 100,000 likes per week.

According to Mattocks, noting the success of her page, BET agreed to pay her $30 per hour to work as a social media freelancer, and the cable network then offered her a contract Dec. 15, 2010, that would have paid her $85,000 over a one-year period, but required her to surrender all of her rights to the page. The contract could have also been terminated at any point, without cause, Mattocks told Hollywood, Esq., so she declined the offer.

She added that BET “wined and dined” her for weeks leading up to its premiere of “The Game,” and her page had reached 3.3 million likes when the show debuted, saying in her lawsuit that executives of the cable network credited her for reviving interest in the show.

However, on Feb. 8, 2011, Facebook disabled her account, according to Mattocks, and the account was restored after BET contacted Facebook to say the action had been a “mistake.” She added that she received a “letter agreement” from the cable network assuring her that, “BET will not change the administrative rights to the page to exclude you from the page,” which she signed out of fear that her account would be randomly disabled again.

BET created its own Facebook page for “The Game” in December 2011, with limited success at the time, according to Mattocks, and the cable network then offered her $15,000 for her rights to her Facebook page and Twitter account, which she responded to with a counteroffer of $1.2 million. The official page currently has more than 6.58 million likes.

BET then offered her a three-year pact to become a “social media specialist” for its scripted programming, paying her $4,166.66 per month, capped at $50,000, which she rejected, following that up by changing the cable network’s administrative access to the page from “manager” to “moderator.”

Finally, last August, Mattocks said BET sent her a letter terminating their agreement and rescinding her rights to the cable network’s intellectual property, and she claimed that BET had Facebook remove her page, which had reached 6.2 million likes.

Mattocks said in her lawsuit that she was earning $2,000 to $3,000 per week from subject-based social network Sulia related to her page, as well as $300 to $500 weekly in sponsored posts, and money from Google AdSense and Amazon referrals.

Readers: How do you think this case will turn out?