TORONTO — If you voluntarily enter the dragons’ den and end up getting burned, don’t try taking the dragons to court.
Ontario’s top court has ruled that a disgruntled contestant whose business proposal was savaged on a CBC television show knowingly agreed to the possibility he might be publicly humiliated.
In its decision released Thursday, the Ontario Court of Appeal sided with lower courts that threw out defamation and breach of contract lawsuits John Turmel filed against the show Dragons’ Den.
“The appellant voluntarily agreed to go on the show,” the Appeal Court found.
“To do so, he was required to and did sign a consent (which) precluded the two actions he commenced.”
In 2009, producers invited Turmel to appear on Dragons’ Den, a program in which startup entrepreneurs pitch business proposals to a panel of Canadian business executives known as the dragons.
Turmel, a political activist, spent 15 minutes pitching an idea in which he sought $100,000 to start up a local currency system for the city of Brantford, Ont., based on poker chips.
In a one-minute segment broadcast in January 2010, the panel of dragons heaped scorn on the notion.
One panellist told him he was “blowing air up a dead horse’s ass,” another said she had no idea what he was talking about, while a third suggested he “burst into flames.”