Dr. Phil Sues Gawker Media Over Manti Te'o Hoax Interview
Dr. Phil McGraw | Photo Credits: Donna Ward/Getty Images
Phil McGraw's production company, Peteski Productions, has sued Gawker Media for publishing footage from Dr. Phil's interview with the man behind the Manti Te'o hoax, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In the suit filed Monday in Texarkana, Texas, lawyers Chip Babcock and George McWilliams claim that Deadspin, a subsidiary of Gawker, posted the most anticipated segments of the two-part interview with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man who pretended to be Te'o's girlfriend, before the second episode had aired in the majority of the syndicated show's markets.
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The first part of Dr. Phil's exclusive interview left viewers wondering if Tuiasosopo would speak in the voice he used to trick Te'o into thinking he was in a long-distance relationship with the fictional woman Lennay Kekua. Before the second episode aired, Deadspin, which originally broke the hoax story in January, posted footage in which Tuiasosopo spoke in Kekua's voice.
Babcock and McWilliams allege that Deadspin's actions resulted in lower ratings for the second episode. They are seeking unspecified damages and an injunction stopping Gawker Media from its continued violation of Dr. Phil's copyright.