Caitlin Sanchez has been the voice behind Dora in Nickelodeon’s Dora The Explorer since 2007, but now at the age of 14, the producers of the Nickelodeon show are saying that her voice has changed, and that she is no longer able to portray the voice of the favourite children’s television character.
Caitlin’s parents are claiming that the contract they were forced to sign with Nickelodeon was overly complex, and that the young actress was underpaid for the work that she did. As a result they have filed a lawsuit against Nickelodeon, MTV and Viacom Consumer Products in New York County Court.
In a statement to the press, Nickelodeon said “The claims being made are baseless. 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. We have enjoyed working with Caitlin on Dora the Explorer these past three years, and we did in fact offer her a contract for other work with us.”.
The lawsuit filed by Caitlin states that “MTV Networks made her sign a “bizarre, impenetrable, unconscionable” contract, “swindling” her of hundreds of millions of dollars in residuals, merchandising fees, promotions and recordings”, this coming at a time when Caitlin was only 12, and her family were pressured into signing the contract without having an attorney present.
Caitlin’s is also claiming that her agent only sent her mother a final copy of the contract less than half an hour before the signing deadline, which did not give them adequate time to read the small print.
Under the terms of the contract, she ended up having to work hundreds of hours promoting the show for free, with nothing apart from $40 a day to cover expenses.
If Caitlin wins her lawsuit, it could be worth a lot of money, since Dora The Explorer reruns are shown at least two dozen times a week, and the show has made billions of dollars.
This could prove to be an interesting lawsuit.