A New Orleans radio station accused of tweeting a homophobic remark about one of its hosts has alleged that the presenter penned the post himself, hoping to force the station to cough up some $2 million to cover his debts.
Earlier this month, WWL Radio’s Seth Dunlap, an openly gay sports broadcaster, said the radio station attacked him with a homophobic slur from its official Twitter handle, viewable to the station’s more than 30,000 followers.
Vowing to go “scorched earth” in his response to the tweet, Dunlap threatened to sue his employer for some $1.8 million, claiming a hostile work environment – but now the station says it has evidence the host posted the offending tweet from his own smartphone, according to a New Orleans Police Department report.
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WWL’s parent company, Entercom, provided the results of an internal probe to police on Thursday, which authorities are now investigating, the report says.
The radio station also alleges it had received a number of letters “regarding wage garnishment” in recent months linked to Dunlap’s personal debts, positing that the host was hurting for money.
“Apparently, Mr Dunlap has a variety of unpaid credit cards and personal loans, and the companies holding the debt are going into collections for the unpaid amount,” WWL said.
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Dunlap insists he did not send the tweet, arguing that he was not one of the 14 WWL employees with access to the station’s Twitter account – even taking and reportedly passing a polygraph test on Wednesday – but the company says it hired a “digital forensic expert” who identified Dunlap as the author of the post.
After seeing the police report issued on Thursday, Dunlap’s attorney, Megan Kiefer, slammed WWL for “false, defamatory and self-serving statements,” but added that her client was happy the police were now involved in the matter.
Though police have yet to corroborate the claims of WLL or Entercom, the report indicated that investigators were considering possible extortion in the case, a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
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