On June 1, 2012, the producers of The Bachelor Series finally dismissed their frivolous lawsuit against me. However, to get the suit dismissed, I had to agree to state on this website that neither I, nor Reality Steve, LLC would “initiate” contact, directly or Indirectly, with any Cast, Crew, and/or other Employees of the Bachelor concerning any non-public details of the Bachelor series.
This all began last October/November when I contacted three of Ben’s girls – Jaclyn Swartz, Casey Shteamer, and Emily O’Brien – via email and offered them compensation in return for information regarding the show. Why those three? I had Jaclyn and Emily’s emails by just doing a Google search, and Casey S I contacted through Facebook when I saw her page was turned on shortly after she returned home from filming. I left Casey S one email on her Facebook page (because I knew about the boyfriend situation and wanted to see if I could get her side of the story), when I didn’t hear back, three days later I went to send her another email and her Facebook page was shut off. That’s the only contact I’d had with her. Both Jaclyn and Emily received my emails and both responded back to me within 24 hours telling me they couldn’t help me out because they didn’t want to get in trouble. I prodded with a few more emails after that to each of them (which have been highly publicized when the story first broke), yet, neither of them took me up on my offer. I never paid either of them for anything, nor did either of them give me any information.
On November 22nd 2011, I received an email from the lawyers representing the production company behind the “Bachelor” series notifying me, among other things, that (this is a direct cut and paste from that email):
“We currently are in possession of evidence of your attempts to induce former participants from the Bachelor Series to breach their contracts with NZK Productions, Inc. for the sole purpose of divulging highly confidential story-lines and information on your website. Specifically, we have several emails from participants wherein you admit you are aware of their confidentiality obligations, and nonetheless offer them compensation to disclose information in breach of their contract.
We further understand that you intend to post more confidential information imminently, i.e. spoilers, on your website regarding the upcoming season of “The Bachelor.” We must assume that the disclosure of such information is the product of your campaign to interfere with our participants contracts.”
When I received the email, I immediately contacted my lawyers asking what I should do. I knew that none of the information I had received and was going to spoil had come from any of the three girls I contacted, nor did it come from anyone under contract. Hell, their lawyers even used the word “assume” in their email. They assumed because they had the emails of me offering to pay their contestants for information, that that’s where my spoilers must’ve come from. Well, they assumed wrong. Until the end of time, myself, Jaclyn, Casey S, and Emily will tell you til we’re blue in the face that neither of them ever gave me any spoilers about their season. They were too scared to get in trouble. And even after offering monetary compensation to them, they still didn’t tell me a thing. Was there anything illegal about offering money for information? No. Was it a dumb decision on my part? Seven months later and with a fat legal bill I have hanging over my head, I’d say the answer to that would be “yes.” I was coming off a successful and profitable year on my website and I just figured “Why not just go directly to one of the contestants and see if they’ll tell me something if I offer them money?” It was a stupid, dumb, idiotic move on my part that ended up backfiring. I’d never done it before, and I’ll never do it again. Do I wish Jaclyn, Emily, and Casey S hadn’t turned over my emails? Of course. Am I mad at them for it? Not at all. Sure, I was asking myself why they did it, but it doesn’t matter. I shouldn’t have sent the emails in the first place. I mean, did you see what I wrote about Emily all last season? Knowing full well that since November she had turned over my emails, I never held it against her and she’s still one of my favorite contestants ever on this show.
The biggest point of contention I want to make out of this whole lawsuit is that I have never paid anyone for any information I’ve ever given on this site. Did I try to last season? Yes. Was I successful? No. I emailed three girls, offered compensation, and was rejected by two of them, with the other never even bothering to respond. The ironic thing is, as you know because I said it many times, I had the beginning and ending to Ben’s season nailed. Go look at the spoilers in case you forgot. It was the middle episodes – Utah, Puerto Rico, Panama, and Belize – that my information was a little sketchy, and that’s what I was looking to fill in, and that’s what I wanted to see if Jaclyn, Emily, or Casey S would help me with. If people under contract were feeding me information, wouldn’t I have every detail of every single season nailed down and never be wrong about anything ever?
When the story broke, of course the producers leaked the contents of my emails to those three girls to make it look like I’ve been doing this every season to every contestant I could get a hold of. Absolutely 100% false. What they didn’t care to reveal to the public in that initial story, was that on November 23rd (the day after receiving my first notice about them being in possession of the emails), I immediately wrote Jaclyn, Casey S, and Emily an email back stating,
“This is to notify you that I have received a letter from attorneys for the production and distribution companies for The Bachelor program threatening to sue me if I were to publish confidential information about the show that you allegedly provided to me. This will confirm that you have NOT provided me with any confidential information about the show. Additionally, I hereby withdraw any prior request that you do so. Best wishes with the show.”
I immediately backed off and that was that. Trust me, if I were to have paid any of them, or I had gotten my spoilers from either of them, and their lawyers were now in possession of those emails, I would’ve responded to the suit differently. But I knew my spoilers didn’t come from them, so I continued on as usual.
On December 5th I tweeted out that I was going to be revealing the final four to Ben’s season the next day. Within hours, my lawyers received an email from opposing counsel stating that if I were to go ahead and do this, they would take further action. Since I knew that info didn’t come from anyone under contract, I spoiled the final four the next day. Then the paperwork arrived that they had filed a lawsuit against me in California Federal Court for “tortious interference.” A week later, I spoiled the ending of Ben’s season because, once again, I knew it wasn’t given to me by anyone under contract, and what were they gonna do? Sue me? They already had.
So that’s how it all started. These last seven months have been pretty taxing on me for the sole reason that I knew I didn’t do anything wrong, but, that I was going up against a corporation that had way deeper pockets than me. I knew in the long run I couldn’t compete with them financially. I needed to make a decision that was best for me and for RealitySteve.com. I saw where this was headed, how many more months and hours my lawyers would have to spend defending this, and the costs behind it. The opposing side was going to continue to drag this through the legal system because money isn’t an issue for them. I thought, as well as my lawyers, that we eventually would’ve won this case. There was no tortious interference done here. There was no money exchanged with those women, there was no information exchanged with those women, and I don’t think there’s any way they could’ve proven I damaged their show. If anything, what I do only adds viewership to their show. They know that, I know that, and you know that. If I knew 1000% that I’d win a countersuit and win my legal fees back, of course I would’ve continued to fight it. But there was no guarantee of that and I wasn’t willing to take that chance. Do I sit and fight this for possibly another 9-12 months, rack up an enormous legal bill and win the case, or cut my losses now, sign an agreement that allows me to continue to do what I do, and just deal with what my legal fee balance is now, knowing it won’t increase? I did not want to be a 37 year old guy with a six-figure legal bill hanging over my head, so I did what I felt was right. Since January, opposing counsel has been sending over numerous Settlement agreements they wanted me to sign, but I wasn’t comfortable with the language they were using. Which is why I continued to fight as long as I did and asked for donations. I wasn’t going to sign something I wasn’t comfortable with, but every day this case continued, the more the legal fees increased. They were trying to get me to sign something that completely favored them, and ultimately, would end up being the end of RealitySteve.com. I refused to back down and sign something like that.
However, in this latest Agreement, they conceded a few things they hadn’t before, I conceded a few things, and I felt comfortable signing it. I can continue to do what I do, I don’t owe their side a penny, and RealitySteve.com continues on. If this Agreement that I just signed was presented to me six months ago, I would’ve signed it then. That’s how confident I feel in it. There’s really no need to get into all the specific details of the Agreement, other than to say I plan to abide by it, and as long as I do, there won’t be any future litigation brought against me. This Agreement does not prevent me from spoiling the show, and I will continue to do so like I have for the past three years.
Thank you to everyone for your patience in this matter. I know you probably have a lot of questions, and I will answer what I feel I can, but because the production company behind “The Bachelor” have already filed a frivolous lawsuit against me, I do not want to give them an alleged excuse to file another. I will abide by the agreement that I signed and not initiate contact with people under contract about non-public information concerning the show. Other than that, it will be business as usual. Thanks to all those who donated to my legal defense fund over the last few months. It definitely helped making a dent into what I owe my lawyers and to hold out for a more acceptable agreement, but I will take it from here and pay the remaining balance myself.
Thanks for your time, and I’ll be back tomorrow with “Reader Emails,” “Dr. Reality Steve,” the reports circulating about Roberto as the next “Bachelor,” plus US Weekly attacking Emily in this week’s issue. See you then.