Could BET Lose 'The Game' Online?

The network is fighting for control of the show's social media presence, in particular its Facebook page.

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The cast of BET's The Game (Jon Ricard/Getty Images)

After the television series The Game was canceled in 2009, a social media campaign began to bring the show back. That effort was successful, and The Game returned to television in 2011, with an astonishing 7.7 million viewers tuning in to the series premiere. Once again, success was due in part to the fan base's large social media presence. On the show's Facebook page, there were 3.3 million likes by the time the series premiered.

An insurance agent by the name of Stacey Mattocks is credited with engineering the show's robust social media following. Mattocks created the show's Facebook page back when it was on the CW (she later established the Twitter account, too) in 2008. When BET was gearing up for the show's return, it reached out to Mattocks to figure out a way to work with her and the following she had built. Things were amicable at first, but according to a story in the Hollywood Reporter, the two sides have soured on each other. On Monday, Mattocks filed a lawsuit against the network.

For her work, Mattocks says that BET agreed to pay her $30 per hour to work as a social media "freelancer."

But the network wanted more.

"BET was searching for a more 'permanent' way to capitalize on the FB Page and Mattocks' efforts," says the lawsuit. "Therefore, on December 15, 2010, BET submitted a proposed contract to Mattocks that would have paid her a maximum of $85,000.00 over a one year period. Mattocks declined this offer because it was unreasonably low, would have stripped her of all rights to the FB Page, and, moreover, could have been terminated at any point by BET, with or without cause."

The story details how BET tried to convince Mattocks to hand over ownership of the Facebook page.

According to the complaint, "In newspaper and magazine articles, Mattocks was credited by BET executives for playing a critical role in reviving interest in the Show and making it a massive success with viewers."

But Mattocks refused to transfer ownership of her Facebook page to BET, and on Feb. 8, 2011, she alleges that Facebook disabled her account.

BET then contacted Facebook to inform the social platform that it had been a "mistake," says the lawsuit. The account was restored, but the following day, BET allegedly requested that Mattocks provide them with "administrative access." Mattocks also says she was given a "Letter Agreement," that provided BET with such access with the assurance that "BET will not change the administrative rights to the Page to exclude you from the Page."

Mattocks says she executed the agreement fearing that her account would be randomly disabled.