Dr. Phil, the television know-it-all, smells blood in the water. He’s taking a page out of the Hulk Hogan playbook and is suing a tabloid for a whopping $250 million in a Florida Court just like the Hulkster, who collected a cool $140 million in his case.
Dr. Phil, 65, real name Phillip McGraw, filed the suit against The National Enquirer and parent company American Media Inc in Palm Beach, Fla.
The company owns RadarOnline, OK! magazine and Star magazine. The tabloids have been frequently accused of making up, or printing stories, that are thinly sourced.
The lawsuit reportedly cites dozens of articles published by The Enquirer over the years.
Someone should clue in McGraw that libel actions have a three-year statute of limitations. So it’s tough to see how he’ll make a case.
Over the years, the tabloid has printed articles alleging that the psychologist has been abusive toward his wife, Robin, and suffered from alcoholism. They have been married for 40 years.
In court papers, McGraw argues that American Media publications have been “misappropriating and capitalizing on the McGraws’ name” for years to make money.
At the same time, they’ve ignored the McGraw’s charity work, all in an effort to make him look like a “fraud.”
McGraw also cites a common complaint against tabloids. He charges that American Media publications “fabricates its sources.”
Court papers reveal that Dr. Phil and the tabloids almost came to legal blows three years ago. American Media reportedly agreed not to publish negative stories about the couple for at least two years to ward off a defamation lawsuit.
The agreement has apparently lapsed. In February, the Enquirer reported that Dr. Phil smashed a beer mug over another man’s head in a Texas bar in the 1970s.
McGraw asserts that the incident never took place. The bar didn’t exist at the time of the alleged incident, he adds.
Hogan, real name, Terry Gene Bollea, sued snark Web site Gawker.com for publishing a short excerpt of his sex tape with his best friend’s wife.
After a lengthy trial, a sympathetic Florida jury ordered Gawker to pay Hogan $140 million in damages for violating his privacy. The award forced the profitable Web site to declare bankruptcy and put itself up for sale.
The case took an even uglier turn in May when The New York Times revealed that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel secretly bankrolled Hogan’s case in a vendetta against Gawker.
It’s unknown whether Thiel is financing McGraw’s lawsuit, but the timing of it is somewhat surprising.
Dr. Phil made a name for himself through repeated appearances on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” in the 1990s.
Oprah helped him land his own show “Dr. Phil,” in 2002. He’s been on the air ever since dispensing advice on just about everything.
Last year Forbes magazine estimated his annual 2014 earnings at $70 million, making him the 15th highest earning celebrity in the world that year.
He apparently doesn’t need the money. But you just can’t put a price on integrity.
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