Is Storage Wars Fake? A New Lawsuit Claims Yes

Storage Wars fans: stop reading now. There's a possibility the show you love isn't real

Credit: A&E

After he was dumped by Storage Wars, Dave Hester claimed the show is rigged

In an unsurprising twist, a new lawsuit alleges that reality show Storage Wars isn’t real

When Storage Wars first debuted in late 2010, I was skeptical about the appeal of a show about junk dealers digging through abandoned storage units in hopes of finding buried treasure.

My assumption that storage lockers were filled with crappy furniture and mouldy mattresses, however, was shattered by the endless array of rare valuables discovered in each episode, everything from a vintage BMW “micro car” to a treasure chest full of gold doubloons. 

This has always seemed a little fishy to me. Can there really be that much awesome stuff inside abandoned storage units? And have you noticed that even though there are always loads of people at these storage-locker auctions, the same people always seem to make the winning bids? 

That’s why I wasn’t particularly surprised by accusations that Storage Wars is rigged, one of many allegations in a lawsuit launched by ex-
warrior Dave Hester. 

New Lawsuit Claims Storage Wars Rigged Shows

Known to viewers for his trademark “Yuuup,” Hester was dumped from the show after attempts to jack up his salary during contract negotiations fell flat. He retaliated by launching a wrongful-termination lawsuit, seeking US$750,000 in damages and claiming producers regularly planted valuable items in lockers to up “the wow factor.” 

In his suit, Hester claims: “Although the series is intended to be a truthful ‘reality series’ depicting people bidding at auctions of abandoned storage lockers, A&E has committed a fraud on the public and its television audience in violation of the Communications Act of 1934, which makes it illegal for broadcasters to rig a contest of intellectual skill with the intent to deceive the viewing public.” 

In its response, A&E wisely avoided either confirming or denying Hester’s allegations, arguing that even if the show were staged — not that they’re admitting it, mind you — there’s nothing illegal about that.

Not only does the act contain no mention of cable TV programming (which didn’t exist in 1934), A&E also claims that Storage Wars is hardly a “contest of intellectual skill.” As a result, “salting” the lockers with fake items doesn’t violate any laws since Storage Wars isn’t a game show and doesn’t air on a broadcast network.

If Hester’s claims are true, Storage Wars is hardly the first reality show to fake it — and, as has been the case with staged reality shows before, viewers probably won’t care.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.