Radio station claims gay presenter sent homophobic tweet about himself as part of million dollar extortion attempt
A gay radio presenter has been accused of sending a homophobic tweet about himself as part of an attempt to extort his employer.
New Orleans station WWL Radio came under scrutiny on September 10 when a message was posted to its official Twitter account referring to host Seth Dunlap as a “fag”.
However, the station’s owners have now passed the issue to the police, claiming that Dunlap sent the tweet himself as part of a plot to extort a big legal settlement.
In the report to New Orleans Police Department, station bosses claim that Dunlap had demanded a $1.8 million payout in compensation for the incident, threatening to go “scorched earth” if the money was not paid.
The company says it brought in a digital forensic expert who concluded that Dunlap “posted the tweet himself from his personal cellphone”.
New Orleans Police Department confirmed it is investigating a report of possible extortion, according to the Times-Picayune.
Radio presenter denies ‘false and defamatory’ claims.
Dunlap’s attorney Megan Kiefer disputes the claims, stressing that he was not one of the 14 employees who had access to the company’s Twitter account.
She said the presenter, who has been on a “leave of absence” from his show since the beginning of the spat, has taken and passed a polygraph test relating to the homophobic tweet.
Kiefer said: “We are in receipt of the police report filed by Entercom, which we received from the media and which does not contain any documentary or supportive evidence other than Entercom’s false, defamatory, and self-serving statements.”
She alleged that the company’s attorneys had “illegally used the threat of criminal prosecution” in order to try and force Dunlap to settle the issue.
Kiefer continued: “It is truly reprehensible [the station] would be attempting to blame the victim of its own anti-LGBT culture, and they are only compounding the severe damage that Mr Dunlap has experienced at the hands of Entercom.”
New Orleans radio station: Investigation ‘in the hands of law enforcement’.
It said: “WWL conducted this investigation with the assistance of an external digital forensic firm and outside counsel, and expended considerable internal resources both in New Orleans and on our corporate staff.
“We determined that the most appropriate next step is to involve law enforcement. At this point, the investigation is in the hands of law enforcement and it is not appropriate for us to comment any further on the substance of our findings.
“WWL is proud to be a trusted source of news and information for the Gulf South, and we strive to be inclusive at all levels as a steward of the community and a good corporate citizen. We remain committed to supporting all members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“We apologise to our listeners, clients, partners and employees for this abhorrent, disrespectful act.”