UPDATED: The Bachelor to a pesky spoiler website: It’s war!
The producer of the long-running dating franchise on ABC has sued Stephen Carbone, aka Reality Steve, who runs a website that routinely runs spoilers (some correct, some not) about the show. Claiming $75,000 in damages, NZK Productions and Alternative Television, Inc. take issue with Carbone’s tactics of “soliciting information from participants, cast, crew and/or other employees” by “inducing them to breach their confidentiality obligations.”
All those who participate in or work for the franchise are asked to sign agreements forbidding them to spill the beans, but that doesn’t deter Carbone from reaching out to them, according to the suit. Several of his tactics are highlighted, like this one email:
“Let me just say, I’m very well aware of your contract,” Carbone allegedly wrote to someone in an email. “I also know that over 500 contestants have been on this show and not one of them has ever been sued for the $5 million. It’s just a scare tactic. Trust me. Just like they had no idea you sent me that last email, they’ll have no idea about any correspondence either. I know you’re scared and a little paranoid by it, but don’t be. Unless they are hacking your email or tapping your phone, there’s absolutely no way for them to find out.”
The suit also highlighted this email to a former contestant: “I’m aware you were eliminated at the SF rose ceremony, so I probably actually know more about what’s happened since you left than you do, however, I do have some blanks that need to be filled in during the early episodes. I’m aware of your contract, but absolutely no one would know of our conversing.”
The producers claim to have sent two cease-and-desist letters to Carbone earlier this year. Now they’re arguing Corbone’s actions “constitute unfair and illegal business acts” and are “unscrupulous, immoral, unethical, oppressive and injurious.”
In response, Carbone posted multiple letters from his attorneys on his website, one of which said the following: “For your clients to sue Mr. Carbone would be unnecessary– at best a waste of the parties time and expense and at worst, an illegal slap action attempting to deny Mr. Carbone’s First Amendment rights. Thus, any such suit would be responded to accordingly. We urge you and your clients to reconsider their position.”
Reality Steve ad-supported website also covers other reality shows like Survivor, The Amazing Race, and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills but Bachelor coverage has been his bread and butter.
In an interview with EW earlier this year, Bachelor Executive Producer Mike Fleiss (inset, above) didn’t appear concerned by the spoiler website and in fact, said his spoilers were often incorrect. “He’s nuts, a goofball,” Fleiss told EW. “He says these things with 100 percent conviction but he’s right only half of the time. It doesn’t matter that much to us, it’s just that he acts like he knows everything. He’s the Michele Bachmann of reality TV facts. But the leaks are not really coming from production. They’re coming from former cast members. That’s a hard thing to police. The best way to combat him is to let himself shoot himself in the foot.”