Dr. Phil, as we previously reported, is suing Gawker media for their release of footage from an interview with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man who fooled football star Manti Te’o into believing he was a woman for over a year. Now, we’re seeing verbiage from court documents leaked online which talk about the lawsuit.
The talk-show host says that Gawker-owned Deadspin was not within their rights when they published a clip of the interview which showed Tuiasosopo speaking in the voice he used to trick Te’o; Te’o claims he never knew he was speaking to a man and carried on a long-distance “relationship” with what he thought was a woman named Lennay Kekua. Tuiasosopo killed Kekua off by telling Te’o she had cancer. The exclusive interview Phil landed with Tuiasosopo was broken up into two parts; the first part ended in a “cliffhanger”, as he was supposed to speak for the first time on camera in Lennay’s voice. Phil says that because Deadspin published that footage before his viewers had a chance to see the episode, they messed with his ratings.
“Gawker deliberately set out to get ‘the jump’ on the rest of the country and ‘scoop’ Dr. Phil with his own content,” the lawsuit said. “They did not ask permission, they blatantly and knowingly infringed the copyright of the content owner and did so in a way that furthered their interest to the maximum and undercut the rightful owner of the protected material.”
Phil is suing for unspecified damages.