A&E has responded to Storage Wars cast member Dave Hester’s “YUUUP”-ed claims that the show is staged, saying that—while it may have fudged the truth a little when it comes to what’s placed where in the lockers and who says what—all such tomfoolery is covered under the First Amendment. The network also argues that Hester is attempting to portray himself as a “crusading whistleblower” after being let go from the show, and that there are “notable inconsistencies in his exaggerated self-portrait," such as his filing of frivolous lawsuits and, presumably, repeatedly insisting he can sell an old particle board end table for $150.
Unfortunately for reality TV gossip nerds (of which there are undoubtedly dozens), A&E’s statement mainly focuses on the legal holes in Hester’s argument, rather than directly addressing his claims that the show "seeded" lockers and paid for a female cast member (Brandi, most likely) to have plastic surgery. The network says that even if the show were staged—which, again, they’re not saying it is or isn’t—Hester can’t claim he’s owed anything by the network just because it didn’t renew his contract.
It also points out that Hester can’t sue the show for allegedly having “committed a fraud on the public and its television audience in violation of the Communications Act of 1934,” which protects against game show rigging. A&E says not only does that statute not apply to cable—which didn’t exist in 1934—but that, even if it did, Storage Wars doesn't involve “chance,” “intellectual knowledge,” (see: Darrell Sheets), or “intellectual skill,” and is thus not technically a game show.