'America's Next Top Model' alum Lisa D'Amato accused Tyra Banks of using her 'childhood trauma' against her

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Lauren Edmonds
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Tyra B and Lisa D
Tyra Banks was accused by "America's Next Top Model" alum Lisa D'Amato of using her "childhood trauma" against her. Getty Images
  • Lisa D'Amato slammed Tyra Banks over what she claimed as mistreatment on "America's Next Top Model."

  • D'Amato accused Banks and show staff of using her "childhood trauma" against her.

  • Banks and ANTM previously faced backlash last summer for accusations of problematic behavior.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

"America's Next Top Model" alum Lisa D'Amato lashed out at Tyra Banks for allegedly exploiting her "childhood trauma'' on TV.

D'Amato on Thursday directly addressed Banks, 47, in an emotional Instagram video that has since been viewed nearly 90,000 times.

She alleged Banks and others working on "America's Next Top Model," or ANTM, engaged in behavior that negatively affected her, as well as other contestants on the series.

"This message is for Tyra Banks. Remember me?" D'Amato, 40, said in the video.

"Remember when I had an opportunity to ask you one question in season 5 - a modeling question - and I came in and asked you a question that wasn't about modeling and you kicked me out?" D'Amato said in the clip. "Can I get that question back?"

D'Amato made two appearances during the series run: in 2005 when she placed sixth on Cycle 5 and in 2011 when she won Cycle 17's "All-Stars."

D'Amato continued that she risked being sued for "about $5 million" for breach of contract by speaking out about her experiences on ANTM in a previous episode of "E! True Hollywood Story."

"I did it knowing that it was a breach of contract, still, because I felt like it was my duty to warn other girls that were going to audition for America's Next Top Model to know that what you guys do and the way that you guys would poke me and use my childhood trauma against me, day in and day out," said D'Amato.

D'Amato began to cry, but added, "It was just so f----- up, and it broke my heart. Like, how could you do that?"

The Instagram video featured captions overlays that read "sexual abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse."

The "Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars" celebrity then posed a single question to Banks.

"How do you sleep at night?" she asked. D'Amato claimed Banks knew about the "horrible trauma" she suffered from her mother.

"Tyra, you knew very well the horrible trauma that my mom inflicted on me, and you also talk so much about how you wouldn't be where you are without your mother and how powerful she is," D'Amato said. "So knowing that you still did that to me and continued to do it to other girls, even after I spoke publicly about it."

"How do you sleep at night knowing that you're torturing and poking at people's, girls' childhood traumas for your own profit?" said D'Amato.

Lisa D'Amato on ANTM
Lisa D'Amato was featured in a Cycle 6 "ANTM" episode with Supermodel Janice Dickinson. CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

D'Amato mentioned two other contestants, Jeana Turner and Angelea Preston, that have spoken out against Banks and the show in the past.

Turner opened up about her difficult experience in a 2019 YouTube video that claimed contestants could not leave their rooms or eat without permission from show staff.

In a 2015 interview with the Daily Mail, Preston said, "It's insane, the amount of bull---- that me and the other girls went through. There are times when we didn't get fed. We had to film straight through, 15, 18 hours without eating."

Jay Manuel, the series Creative Director, has also released a fiction book based on his experiences on the show.

D'Amato ended the video with a pointed tongue-in-cheek phrase that calls back to Banks' infamous outburst at Cycle 4's Tiffany Richardson.

"I just wanted you to know, we were all rooting for you," said D'Amato.

Banks and D'Amato did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

D'Amato doubled down on her comments with a second Instagram post on Friday directed at Banks after news outlets picked up the story. D'Amato encouraged other ANTM contestants to share their experiences on the show.

"Help me help you, Tyra. Let's do a one-on-one? We can be like your Naomi and Tyra interview except it's worst and you're the villain. I dare you," she wrote.

D'Amato previously spoke out against Banks in a 2016 interview

While speaking with TooFab, D'Amato said of Banks: "I do think Tyra [Banks] kinda likes to keep everybody down a little bit so everyone knows she's like the Queen Bee."

"There's certain things they could do the help, little things, even if it is an e-mail, forwarding pictures ... and that does not happen at all," she said,

D'Amato added that after contestants leave the show, "it is very cold because they're just on to the next cycle." Model Winnie Harlow, who appeared on the show, claimed ANTM didn't "do anything" for the models' careers.

ANTM and Banks faced backlash last summer over what people deemed problematic behavior

In May 2020, people on social media began shining a light on the problematic commentary and blackface featured on ANTM.

For example, Banks spoke to LGBTQ contestant Kim Stolz on Cycle 5 and discouraged her from being open about her sexuality.

"I'm gay, and I'm really proud of it," Stolz told Banks.

Banks replied, "I think there's a certain thing of being proud. Like, I'm black and proud, you know what I mean? But I'm not walking down the red carpet: 'I'm black. I'm black.'"

Another instance involved Cycle 6 winner Danielle Evans, who was criticized by Banks for refusing to close the gap in her teeth.

"Do you really think you can have a CoverGirl contract with a gap in your mouth?" Banks said, adding that the gap wasn't a "marketable" feature.

Many people took issue with a number of photoshoots that required contestants to pose as a different race and engage in blackface by darkening their skin.

In cycle 4, white contestants posed as Black women and one woman commented "I'm a black woman with a nose job."

Following the backlash, Banks shared a statement addressing the criticism on Twitter.

"Been seeing the posts about the insensitivity of some past ANTM moments and I agree with you. Looking back, those were some really off choices. Appreciate your honest feedback and am sending so much love and virtual hugs," wrote Banks.

Read the original article on Insider