Lawsuit: Jon Gosselin Used Kids as Pawns in Contract Dispute

10/16/2009 at 05:40 PM EDT

Lawsuit: Jon Gosselin Used Kids as Pawns in Contract Dispute
Jon Gosselin
Jerritt Clark/Getty
When Jon Gosselin decided to pull his kids from Jon and Kate Plus 8 last month, he said it was for their well-being because he and his wife were going through a divorce.

But in a lawsuit filed against him Friday by TLC, the show's production company says Jon only attempted to remove his kids after producers failed to give into his attorney's demand to let him out of his exclusivity contract.

The suit says Jon's attorney contacted them the same day they announced they would re-launch the show in November as Kate Plus 8 and focus it on Kate's life as a single mom. The suit says TLC only made the announcement after an unsuccessful attempt to discuss the matter with Jon.

"(Jon) Gosselin's counsel stated that if this release was not forthcoming within one hour's time, defendant Gosselin would reverse his often repeated public comments to the contrary and publicly object to further filming of the program on the ground that it is purportedly detrimental to his children," the suit alleges. "When (TLC) declined to provide the release, Defendant Gosselin followed through on his threat and thereafter notified TLC that he would attempt to bar TLC's further access to the family property and further filming of his children."

Mark Heller, Jon's attorney, calls the allegations "weak, feeble and baseless" and says the contract violated Jon's First Amendment rights. "Discovery and TLC has treated Jon Gosselin like a dog by attempting to keep him on a leash and muzzle him and deny the father of eight an opportunity to earn a livelihood to support his family," he says.

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