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Shock Jock Defamation Suit


MJ vs. Bubba: The lawsuit

TAMPA — Radio host Todd “MJ” Schnitt says he’s had enough of the on-air mudslinging by radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem and has filed a defamation and false light lawsuit against him.

Schnitt, host of the MJ Morning Show, and his wife, Michelle, filed the lawsuit against Clem in Hillsborough County Circuit Civil Court. Also named as defendants are Cox Radio, Inc. and Bubba Radio Network, Inc. (source)

This complaint seem to be so void of legal merit that I am stunned that a licensed attorney would affix his or her signature to it. Okay, I am not really stunned. I have seen worse in this state.

Some of the statements are nasty and mean. See pages 6 & 7 of the complaint. It appears that Bubba went so far as to call Schnitt’s wife a whore. That might warrant an ass kicking, but not a defamation suit.

MJ is a public figure and has purposely taken the field of battle in this war of egos. As to Ms. Schnitt, she may not be a public figure. Then again, a case in the controlling district court of appeal held that a public figure’s husband was, himself, properly held to be a public figure. See Dockery v. Florida Democratic Party, 799 So.2d 291 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001).

You would think that most lawyers would be aware of the ruling in Hustler v. Falwell. As supplemental authority, even Florida’s notoriously anti-free speech courts have held that the First Amendment requires neither politeness nor fairness. See, e.g., Pullum v. Johnson, 647 So. 2d 254, 258 (Fla. 1st DCA 1994); Dockery v. Florida Democratic Party, 799 So.2d 291 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001).

Aside from the merits of the case, lets just ask ourselves a question here: is it really a good idea for someone who makes their living by exercising his First Amendment rights to bring a defamation claim against someone else who does the same?

I think it is pretty stupid, myself. For filing this action, I award Mr. and Mrs. Schnitt the first ass-hat award to be given to a married couple.

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