Family of L.B. Bonner Files Lawsuit Against Production Company For Its Role in the ‘My 600 Lb Life’ Star’s 2018 Suicide

The family of My 600 Lb Life star James “L.B.” Bonner is taking legal action against the show’s production team for what they believe to be the production company’s role in L.B.’s 2018 suicide. 

Starcasm broke the news on Thursday that the lawsuit filed by L.B.’s family alleges “gross negligence” on production company Megalomedia, claiming that the company backed out on promises to L.B., pressured him into filming when he was unprepared and failed to provide him with mental health care even after he had begun to exhibit concerning signs. 

As fans of ‘My 600 Lb Life’ may recall, L.B. — known for his more than 300-pound weight loss on the TLC show — was found dead in August 2018 in a South Carolina park with what appeared to have been a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was only 30 years old. 

While L.B.’s death may have come to a surprise to some, the ‘My 600 Lb Life’ lawsuit states that L.B. had been in distress for several months leading up to his suicide, even reaching out to one of the show’s production assistants via text on more than one occasion. 

“I am a f**ked up wreck right now,” one of texts he sent allegedly read. In others, L.B. revealed, “I’m not in a good place right now it’s dark” and “I had a breakdown.” The family claims the production assistant allegedly advised L.B. to “Fake it till you make it.”

Other allegations made in the lawsuit include claims that Megalomedia reportedly demanded that L.B. shave his beard and that they refused to let him move to Texas to get a job without an approved filming schedule. After L.B. did eventually move, the production company allegedly forced him to return home to South Carolina, unpack and then repack, as producers weren’t able to film the initial move. 

The lawsuit filed by L.B.’s family also stated that L.B. was only offered one therapy session, with extra sessions to come only on an indeterminate as-needed basis. The production company also reportedly did not “pay for all charges associated with” L.B.’s weight loss surgery, even though they had promised to do so. This resulted in bill collectors “harassing L.B. for payment and impairing his credit.” 

As this point, the combination of stress and L.B.’s weight loss began to impact his health in a negative way. 

“Moreover, due to the rapid weight loss and lack of sufficient aftercare, L.B.’s teeth became loose and some fell out, his vision became impaired and he suffered from general malaise. All the while he continued to suffer psychologically and physically, the show continued to pressure,” the lawsuit states. 

L.B.’s mother, father, sister and the executor of his estate are reportedly seeking monetary relief “well in excess of $1 million. The family is also seeking “a monetary verdict to change the reality show industry.” 

“‘My 600 Lb Life’ is an example of one of those reality shows that a production company spent little investment in, but was able to sell for a large profit to a major network,” as explained in the lawsuit. “Unfortunately, as with ‘My 600 Lb Life,’ those that create and produce these shows, many times do so to the detriment of those that are featured therein.

“When filming these shows, it has become common place for those that produce, direct and ultimately sell these ‘reality shows’ to manipulate those being featured to create drama between or amongst family members, force ‘entertaining’ story lines, plant ideas to the participants, exploiting relationships and awkward situations and pushing unbeknownst, unpaid participants to the edge of an emotional cliff. Sadly, this has become the norm in an effort to boost ratings and increase profits — yet, those who are exploited and suffer never share in such profits.” 

(Photos: Instagram; TLC) 

26 Responses

  1. I feel so sorry for the family, I lost my son to suicide, he suffered from PTSD after serving in the Marines. LB seemed like such a sensitive man, he did so well with his weight, he stated he had issues so I don’t think it’s fair that so many sue the prod company, I feel Dr Now does so much, why blame others! Again I’m so sorry the family is on this journey

  2. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “Trash”. Reason: Failed Bot Test (expired) *]
    I think it is time for “reality”shows to be exposed for what they are. Participants are required to sign non-disclosures so they don’t speak out. If I were a a news outlet, I would agree to back all those who divulged the truth. If enough of them spoke out, it could be a huge story.

  3. LB was bound to die anyway – whether from being a 600 lb addict or from his own demons alone. He’s responsible for his health and well-being. Why didn’t his FAMILY get him help? A PA can’t get him help no more than a family member can. In fact, a family member like a parent or spouse is in a better position to have him forcefully treated by a mental health practitioner.
    They’re looking for a meal ticket out of this. Bless his heart ? this man had a hellish life.


  5. That’s a bunch of BS! The loss of LB is terribly heartbreaking but from what LB said himself, he fought with food, alcohol and his MOTHER! It wasn’t the shows fault. The show made LB ‘s life much happier! Sounds like Ambulance chasing to me. SHAME on them and God Keep and protect LB.

    1. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “Trash”. Reason: Failed Bot Test (checkbox) *]

  6. It’s very sad that he killed himself and I think the way that reality show production treats weight loss show participants is well documented (for example, all the accusations about The Biggest Loser a few years ago that forced it off the air), but I’m not sure the damages that the family are seeking are very realistic. From what I’ve seen of the show, very few if any of the show participants work and a few have admitted on the show that they are on disability. Usually big money verdicts for families in cases rely heavily on the fact that the person was working and bringing in an income and generally being a contributing member of society. Also, did his family try to get him help? Did he try getting help apart from reaching out to production? I just feel like there are missing facts from this story as we know it now.

    1. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “Trash”. Reason: Failed Bot Test (expired) *]
      This is so very sad if this is true! But L.B did have mental health problems and had a strained relationship with his parents. My question is where was his family during this time? If they new he needed help then go to him and stay with him. It’s very easy to do a blame game. I don’t think L.B would want this. He did have demons and maybe they won. Once you lose someone it’s a blame game afterwards. We are all guilty of that. I’ve tried to take my life a few times and was angry when I woke up alive. When you get that way nothing but nothing will stop you from doing it. I do think its suspicious he was found dead in a car park in a ditch. It just sounds like it should be investigated more actually. L.B Rip my friend you no you were loved all over the world.

  7. Kailyn did a click bait on Kobe Bryant’s death. What a piece of shitz. No one is surprised. She did a click bait on Mackenzie’s mom too. The Dejesus sisters did a click bait on Kobe too. Keep supporting trash. Shitz Show.

  8. Let me tell you as a (former?) overweight person, the low confidence you had while having all those extra pounds still persists even if you are slimmer. The mean comments you heard in school or on the street are still in your mind so therapy is necessary in order to grow some self-esteem which will help you further in life. I don’t think skinny people will ever understand how hard it is to feel good in your skin so comments like “You’re still fat.”, “You should lose some more.” don’t help. I know it will be constant struggle for me and I’m sure with him being so large it made him feel even worse. Such a shame for such a young life lost due to depression. I believe the family. Those shows don’t care about their mental health, only the money they will get by exploiting them.

  9. It is so sad that he reached the point where he felt suicide was his only option. While I agree that he likely dealt with depression and other sorts of mental struggles prior to filming; what type of person, when a person is practically begging for help, shrugs them off with “fake it til you make it”?! The whole situation is just awful ?

    1. Why’s it the producers fault though? Are they his babysitters? If he was feeling depressed, he should have called a therapist, psychiatrist, or even a regular doctor. He was 600lbs, I’m sure he already saw a PCP for weight-related issues. These production people only come to film like once a month for a year, it’s not like they’re together all the time. Why was production responsible for him getting and paying for his therapy though, that’s on him.

      1. It sounds like maybe production was supposed to be paying his medical expenses while he was filming, and mental health care was meant to be a part of that—they paid for at least the one counseling sessions but were being stingy about more, telling him counseling would be on an “as needed” basis. He was trying to tell them he needed it. I don’t know his particular story, but was he able to work while being 600lbs, filming, and recovering from surgery? Did he have his own income and health insurance? It sounds like these shows are quite controlling about what they “allow” you to do. He had to move twice because production wanted to film him packing!? That’s very weird.

        I can see both sides here. Why couldn’t he reach out to his family for help? Financial and emotional? How isolated was he that he only had production assistants to talk to when he was suicidal? But on the other hand, if a production company tells you that in exchange for humiliating yourself on camera for a year or more they will take care of you and pay all your expenses, then they should probably take care of you and pay your expenses. They’re setting themselves up to be the person who is “in charge” of and funding this guy’s needs, and then they’re blowing him off and neglecting his needs. I highly doubt that they cared about him and it’s pretty much their job to exploit him and his horrible situation so they can make the most amount of money possible. While at the same time, ingratiating themselves to him, making him trust them, telling him that his story needs to be told and will be such an inspiration.

        The whole thing is really sad.

        1. Very, very well said Amy. You summed that up perfectly. I can’t imagine filming something so deeply person and humiliating for the world to see and judge. End of the day- a man lost his life. (By his own hand to boot.) Terribly sad no matter which way you slice it. I don’t like how the production company is so excited to fight this either. Like, they know theyll win. They’re a big rich corporation up against an impoverished family with obesity issues. Very sad indeed.

      2. My position is that maybe he trusted this particular person enough that he felt he could open up to them. The producer didn’t necessarily need to be responsible for taking care of him, but perhaps escorting him to medical professionals, calling for a health and welfare, or even notifying family members would have been much better options that blowing him off.

    2. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “Trash”. Reason: Failed Bot Test (expired) *]
      I ABSOLUTELY don’t think that the show caused this young man’s death!! I feel sorry for his family & I pray that GOD will grant you peace & comfort in the middle of ths awful tragedy but we hv to STOP blaming other ppl for actions that we’ve committed on our own!! GOD BLESS YOU & YOUR FAMILIES!!!

    3. I absolutely agree with you! He was a great guy in my opinion and instead of saying fake it till you make it, he should have called him, then called his parents and told them that something was wrong.Its like, they made their money and now they couldnt care less, with statements such as “fake it till you make it” just really sad. I have just started watching this show on HULU and saw his story, I was just checking up on him when I saw the news that he passed. Terribly sad!

    1. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “Trash”. Reason: Failed Bot Test (expired) *]
      It sounds like the production assistant was ignorant and didn’t know what to say and perhaps didn’t bring his call for help to production’s attention. Production did owe him therapy. They can’t emphasize it like they do on the show then not guarantee it. It’s hypocritical.

  10. Make sure they sue each other for not getting him help before he got to the point of qualifying for the show in the first place. I hope the judge throws them out of the courthouse.

    1. I was going to say the exact same thing as you. The show did not put him in the position to where he needed to be on the show. He was slowly killing himself my eating everyday and whoever was fueling the fire by bringing him food. Sue those people as well. Sad situation that people want to sue over everything.

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