The teenage actress who voiced children's cartoon character "Dora the Explorer" is taking TV bosses to court amid allegations she was pressured into signing a contract which cheated her out of millions of dollars in wages. Caitlin Sanchez claims she and her parents were handed "unconscionable" documents to sign when she accepted the role on the Nickelodeon show in 2007 and were reportedly cornered into agreeing to the terms without the help of a lawyer.
But the star's attorney, John Balestriere, argues the actress was seriously underpaid and was not properly compensated for the hours of work she put in recording the voice of the hugely popular Latina character. In the lawsuit, filed in New York's Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday, October 6, it is also alleged that Sanchez, who was paid $5,115 per episode, was given a "meager travel stipend of $40 a day", despite being expected to fly around the U.S. to promote the cartoon.
The suit 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 is convinced Sanchez, now 14, was conned out of "millions, perhaps tens of millions" of dollars as a result of the allegedly shady contract, reports the New York Daily News.
Executives at MTV Networks and its parent company Viacom International have also been named in the suit - but a representative for the firm has dismissed the claims, insisting the suit is "completely without merit".