The Legal Drama Behind the “Tanked” TV Show

Reality TV show Tanked was definitely one of Animal Planet’s biggest money-makers. So, when the television network suddenly cancelled the series, millions of viewers were genuinely surprised. Yet, the events surrounding the series ending were quite scandalous, to say the least.

In addition, Tanked drew major criticism, especially around the handling of pet fish, allegations that saw owners Brett & Wayde caught in a web of customer complaints and lawsuits.

If you are curious about the intrigues surrounding the popular reality show and its stars, read on for all the juicy deets!

Heather and Wayde King Faced Domestic Abuse Charges

Right before it aired the fifteenth season of Tanked, Animal Planet dropped the bomb no one saw coming: The series would end after a fifteen-season run.

Paul Schur, VP of Media Relations and Communications at Animal Planet, announced that the series came to a natural end after fifteen fantastic seasons.

Schur’s announcement came on the heels of news that Tanked stars and couple Wayde and Heather King had been involved in a nasty domestic violence altercation, which saw Las Vegas police arrest Heather.

According to sources close to the couple, the two got into an argument during which Heather slapped her husband, Wayde. Wayde also reported to police that his wife drove off while he was hanging out the window of her car.

Heather, whom the police detained in custody for a misdemeanor domestic charge, explained to law enforcement that she slapped her husband because he attempted to pin her against a wall and blocked her way during an argument. She was released from custody after a couple of hours.

Following this incident, Heather, who worked as the accountant at the family business, Acrylic Tank Manufacturing (ATM), filed for divorce from the father of her two children and husband of twenty years.

Despite Animal Planet’s claims that their decision to cancel the show had nothing to do with Heather and Wayde’s domestic violence scandal, it sure seems like the two incidents were related.

That being that, Tanked did wrap up after the season fifteen finale. For fans wondering whether Tanked will return, Animal Planet insists that the ending is final and there won’t be a return of the popular reality series.

A Disappointed Fan Sued Tanked Co-Stars and ATM Owners

Despite its major popularity on the one hand, Tanked, which follows the day-to-day events at the Las Vegas Acrylic Tank Manufacturing Company, is mired in controversy on the other hand.

One incident that stands out is that of Seminole County businessman Stephen Hudak Oliver Dawoud. Dawoud sued Tanked’s ATM company after it failed to deliver the massive backyard fish tank he had paid for.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiff accuses Brett Raymer and Wayde King’s aquarium-making company of breach of contract after Dawoud initially paid the company $147,000 for a fish tank that would be filled with sharks and rays.

Stephen Dawoud, the co-founder of Aventus Health LLCC, said that his family wanted the wow factor in their backyard in the gated community of Bella Foresta.

The client became increasingly frustrated about project delays. Still, all he got was apologies from ATM, with representatives asking him to be patient due to the size and uniqueness of the tank.

Raymer, one of the company’s co-owners, also responded to Dawoud’s complaints by asking him to pay more money for them to continue with the project, which the aquarium makers insisted would cost between $750,000 and $900,000.

According to Stephen’s lawyer, the fish tank company strung his client along, avoided questions and ransomed the payments he had already paid.

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Daniel C. Irick, who was overseeing the case, sided with Dawoud, stating that there was no evidence he received anything in exchange for the payment to the ATM. The federal judge ordered the aquarium makers to refund Dawoud with interest.

Las Vegas Donut Rival Sued Brett Raymer

Aside from making fish tanks and filming for television, Brett Raymer also operates a donut franchise, Donut Mania.

In 2019, Brett found himself in yet another controversy involving a gourmet donut competitor. Pinkbox Doughnuts LLC filed a lawsuit in Clark County District Court alleging that Donut Mania NV LLC used their intellectual property to develop proprietary donut recipes, including a donut shaped like a poo emoji.

The lawsuit stemmed from Brett’s company hiring ex-Pinkbox employees, particularly chefs Amanda Bryant and Kevin Bryant, whom the rival company claims had access to trade secrets, including the donut-making processes, recipes and designs.

In a statement, Raymer responded, “We’ve been in business for three years, and we’ve been doing business the same way. Suddenly, we’re seeing this bullying lawsuit after building the business using the taste of our donuts and my reputation.”

Pinkbox did not name the two chefs as defendants in the lawsuit but insisted that Donut Mania asked its ex-employees to share trade secrets, including PinkBox’s oil filtering process and donut recipes for creations such as the Unicorn, Poo emoji, Samoa and Cronut donuts.

Two months after his company was slapped with the lawsuit, Brett, who insisted that “he would never copy someone’s business,” abruptly closed down all four of his Donut Mania stores in Summerlin, North Las Vegas, Henderson, and Spring Valley.

Speaking to the Las Vegas Review-Journal at the time, Raymer said they were negotiating with their rival concerning the lawsuit, and Donut Mania would remain closed in the meantime. But, Raymer never reopened his donut business after the lawsuit.

Instead, he went on to open Stallone’s Italian Eatery with business partner Louie Zweifach in 2022.

Complaints Over Low Survival Rate of Fish From Tanked

Aside from these full-blow legal scandals, the co-stars of Tanked have faced numerous other complaints about their aquariums, particularly their (mis)handling of fish and overpromising the fish’s survival rates.

For example, professional American-Canadian wrestler and singer Chris Jericho who appeared on Tanked in 2017, lamented that the show “was a money trap.”

“They said, we’ll put this, this and that fish in. You have this amazing aquarium but the problems begin when they pack up and the show leaves your house.

The issue is they fill the tank with different fish in the same water together without allowing them to acclimate. Therefore, sooner rather than later, the fish start dying and my kids start crying because of the dead fish,” the famous wrestler told Fightful.

Craig Allen, owner of All Star Wines & Spirits in Latham, N.Y., had similar complaints after the Tanked crew installed his gigantic wine bottle fish tank.

According to Izzy Capuano, a technical advisor for the show, part of the series’s sensationalism is to fill the tank with all sorts of beautiful and colourful fish in one go, but the truth is the tank cannot accommodate that.

Allen, who signed a lengthy contract with Brett & Wayde’s show, said he was not warned that most fish would die shortly. The contract released Tanked from any responsibility should the fish die after filming, requiring him to “find a home for the extra livestock in the tank.”

According to Allen, more than 50 percent of the fish died two months after installing the giant aquarium at his shop, yet he spent nearly $3,000 on the fish alone.

There is no doubt that Brett Raymer and Wayde King had a great thing going with their ATM custom aquariums business. But as with all things, there’s always a good and a bad side, and that’s something the reality stars have to deal with their way.