Last year when I started this podcast on December 5th, the first few I did were all just me talking. Didn’t really know the direction the podcast was going in. Once I started doing interviews, as you know, that’s been what it’s become. Taking it back “old school” today by having no guests and it’s just me talking. I will tell you the Final Four Breakdown in today’s podcast, but first wanted to explain to everyone what is going on and why I’ve pretty much been radio silent for the past week. Does it suck? Sure. This is no fun for me. But when the big bad wolf comes around and starts bullying me again and infringing on my freedom of speech, I have to defend myself. My podcast will explain everything that’s going on, and for people that don’t feel like listening for 30 minutes, these next few paragraphs are a condensed version of what I said, followed by your spoilers on Page 2. They’re trying to silence me, again, and I’m not going to be intimidated. This is my job. This is my livelihood. And they are trying to take that away from me. We’ll see what happens from this point forward, but please either listen to today’s podcast or read below, and hopefully you’ll get a better understanding without a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo.
You can listen to today’s podcast on a number of platforms, but you can also tune in by clicking the player below:
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts, RSS, Stitcher, Spotify
Music written by Jimmer Podrasky
(B’Jingo Songs/Machia Music/Bug Music BMI)
(SPOILERS) I talk for a bit about why you’ve heard basically radio silence from me for the last week and do a timeline of the events that have transpired since I tweeted last Tuesday, I give you your Final Four Breakdown (18:03), recap my tweet from Thanksgiving regarding the “Bachelor: Canada” spoiler (29:00), and then wrap it up with thoughts on “Bachelor: Winter Games” (32:00).
For years I have stood behind the fact that all I really do is spoil and make fun of a silly reality show which itself is very easy to make fun of. Been doing it a while now. Almost 15 years I’ve been at this. In 2009, I got my first spoiler and have been spoiling ever since. And I’ve repeated this over and over through the years: I’m not selling nuclear codes. This isn’t CIA level shit. This isn’t insider trading. What I do is on such a small scale in even just the TV world, it’s not really a blip on the radar. If this were the only show on television, yes, it’d probably be a big deal. But it’s not. Never has been. I get information about the show from various sources and I report it. Seems pretty simple. And we’ve seen over the years that people love spoilers. With the growth of social media, I can’t tell you how many people have either commented through their accounts or emailed me directly saying how much they enjoy the spoilers because it gives them a different perspective on how to watch the show. Sure, it’s not for everyone, but it’s been happening long enough now that people have gotten used to them. I contended for years that I don’t spoil so that you won’t watch the show. Quite the opposite. I spoil so that you just watch the show differently. As far as I can tell, in 9 years that I’ve been spoiling, the show keeps on growing. They added “Bachelor Pad” since my first spoiler. They added “Bachelor in Paradise” after that. And come next February, they’re adding “Winter Games,” yet another show for the franchise. Certainly doesn’t look like they’re struggling to me, or losing money, or suffering in any way. 15 years and 34 seasons of this franchise, yet, they’ll have you believe that what I do somehow damages their show. Please.
I say all this because NZK Productions, the production company behind the “Bachelor” franchise, is trying to silence me again. Let me explain what happened. Last Tuesday night November 21st, I tweeted this out:
Making a list and checkin it twice. Just making sure I have the ending correct before posting it. It’s coming…
— RealitySteve (@RealitySteve) November 22, 2017
Why did I tweet that out? Because I was planning on posting the Final 4 Breakdown and who Arie chose either the next day or on Thanksgiving Day. Hadn’t decided yet. However, my lawyer received a Cease and Desist letter the very next day on Wednesday the 22nd from the law firm that represents the “Bachelor,” in so many words saying that if I released spoilers about Arie’s season based on any improper communications, I could expect legal action to take place. Just that in and of itself was laughable to me because their letter did not have any evidence supporting their claim. But whatever, for the sake of being threatened with legal action, I obliged and held off until I understood more. Their letter stated that if I didn’t respond by this past Monday at 5:00pm PST, they’d have no choice but to move forward with legal action. They sent this the day before Thanksgiving, essentially giving us ONE business day to respond. Appreciate that. My lawyer spoke to their lawyer on Monday morning, and then we sent a formal response later that day. They did not respond further.
In our response, along with calling out numerous errors and omissions in their Cease and Desist letter to us, and because I’m so certain that the information I obtained was done through proper channels and did not violate anything whatsoever, I even specifically told them I would be willing to provide, under protective order, proof that my information this season did not involve any wrongdoing or improper communications. They didn’t respond to that either.
For those that don’t remember, I entered into a Settlement Agreement with them after the last lawsuit in May of 2012. The terms of the settlement were confidential, so all I was allowed to say about it was that “the case was amicably resolved.” Now they are firing off threats and possible lawsuits off baseless claims yet again.
So here we are. They are trying to silence me again with threats of a lawsuit if I post spoilers from this point forward about the upcoming “Bachelor” season. We’ve tried working out an agreement, and we’ve tried telling them, along with offering proof, that my information did not come from any improper communications or improper inducements to get people to breach any contracts, but they don’t seem to care. They are being completely unreasonable, bullying me essentially into giving up my sources, and are trying to prevent me from continuing my livelihood. I guess they’re still seriously bothered by the fact I’ve been able to share spoilers for the last 9 years. I’m really not sure. Why else would they threaten me?
They are infringing on my First Amendment Rights as a reporter and trying to squash my freedom of speech because they don’t like that I’m spoiling their show. This is my job. This is my livelihood. But because anyone can basically sue anyone for anything, I guess they feel that’s the route they want to go. The line in the sand has been drawn. I’d say there’s probably a good chance they are going to file suit against me now after today’s post. I don’t know what to say, other than I’m just not going to be intimidated by what I think are baseless claims. You know, I know, and yes, THEY know, that what I do only helps their show and draws attention to it. I’m free advertising for them basically. And if they sue me now for a third time, media outlets will pick up on it, and it’ll gain even more attention heading into their season, which my guess is exactly what they’re looking for. Well, I’m calling out all major media outlets now to cover this just like they’re feverishly covering all other stories where people are trying to silence reporters, because that’s exactly what’s happening here. The big bad corporation is trying to silence me with threats of a lawsuit because I spoil their silly show. I believe it’s wrong, unfair, and not to mention that other little thing – illegal. I will stand behind those beliefs as long as I have to.
Sure it sucks knowing I might be sued from this point forward. Certainly not something you want to wake up to every day thinking what might be coming. The only other option is to not spoil this season like they asked and just write recaps pretending I don’t know what the outcomes are of particular episodes. That just seems crazy to me and would be bizarre to cover the season that way. The information I have this season did not in any way involve any wrongdoing or improper communications, hence the reason I’m spoiling what I am. I refuse to be intimidated by their tactics in this situation, and I will proceed with this season as planned. So now that there’s been back and forth for the last week and I know more about the situation than I did last Wednesday when the Cease and Desist letter arrived, I feel comfortable moving forward with the Final 4 Breakdown. Let the chips fall where they may from this point forward.
Your Final 4 Spoilers begin on Page 2…
November 30, 2017 at 9:04 AM
That’s so annoying they’re pulling this BS when they know they can’t win and are infringing on freedom of speech. That’s hollywood for ya. Love your spoilers keep on keepin’ on!
November 30, 2017 at 9:50 AM
The problem with lawsuits is that they are expensive, particularly when the other party is a huge corporation with a team of lawyers at its disposal. You can be 100% right, but you will spend a ton of money trying to prove it. They will literally bankrupt you to try to shut you down. It’s a shame.
November 30, 2017 at 10:34 AM
I would have absolutely no interest in watching the stupidity of this show without having your spoilers, I must say. I am there to mock them, not believe their lame stories are true. Thanks for all you do. They suck.
November 30, 2017 at 11:30 AM
I knew something was up – you could just tell from the Radio Silence. This is so f- ing ridiculous. I really look forward to the spoilers. Especially from this upcoming season because Arie appears to be such a nimrod. I am shocked that NZK and or ABC would start up this nonsense and foolishness again!! Seriously, when your contestant could possibly be the Matt Lauer of reality stars, do you really want to try to piss off the viewers that read a much-loved spoiler blog? Plus your following includes so many “influencers” How really dumb can ABC be? Just to let you know – I am one of “those” people who do have not issue writing letters or making calls when a right has been wronged. I have actually gotten up to the CEO of Disney! So if this foolishness continues I will be writing a very long letter/email of complaint and I will threaten to boycott the show. Kind of stupid, but these kinds of threats and bullying are not going to be tolerated anymore! Stay strong – we support you! #Freedom of speech!
November 30, 2017 at 12:22 PM
Arie’s Dad, Arie Sr., was a true star as a race car driver. He won the Indy 500 twice and is in the Motor Sports Hall of Fame. Now his trust fund baby son is working the D-List reality TV game to get famous. It’s kind of sad really. But I guess if he actually got a race car sponsor out of this mess, who could blame him. It’s a crazy world, that’s for sure.
November 30, 2017 at 12:26 PM
As for the lawsuit, what bothers me is the pettiness. Or, even worse, if they are doing it just to draw attention to the show…. which is getting a little long in the tooth. Hopefully this was just some saber rattling. Anyone can get a lawyer to write a nasty, scary letter (which is all a “cease and desist” order is. That usually serves whatever purpose is intended. But filing a lawsuit is another thing. The production company might have more money, but they still have to pay their lawyers. That comes out of their pockets. So, we’ll see. My bet is that this was an empty threat where they knew RS would report it and the media would go crazy and give them lots of free publicity.
November 30, 2017 at 4:01 PM
I’ll wade in on this…from a foreigner’s perspective The Bachelor etc., franchise is relatively new to the UK. Two years ago I stumbled upon a programme and thought how cheesy and sleazy it was and I quickly turned over. I saw it again as I was flipping through the channels…so I Googled it. I found Steve’s website, arh I thought an American making fun of this show, so it’s not taken (too) seriously over the pond, I’ll give it a whirl! That was Sean’s season, the first Bachelor season to be shown in the UK. If I hadn’t have found Steve’s website, I would have never watched another minute of the franchise, it’s that simple for me. Further to that, as the UK is years behind with the seasons, they are always spoilt. I knew Des H got sent home, became the next Bachelorette, chose Chris and got married when I was watching Sean’s season.
That all said, I can understand the production companies irritation of Steve spoiling. The producer’s just want to be the first to reveal who goes home and when etc. Steve does throw a few peeps under a bus here and there, that too may irritate the producer’s etc. However, what Steve spoils is only shown on his website, it’s not leaked to the press (not what I’ve seen), so it’s kinda harmless, and is overall of benefit to the franchise itself. Although I’m not one who would be too cavalier when it comes to legal threats etc., I do feel the producer’s take their programmes far too seriously, hence the threat. So I’m hoping it’s a toothless shark that Steve has knocking.
November 30, 2017 at 9:30 PM
Without knowing the specifics, it sounds to me that NZK seems to be threatening a SLAPP lawsuit against you. Wikipedia defines SLAPP as: ‘A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition. … The typical SLAPP plaintiff does not normally expect to win the lawsuit.” Does that sound familiar?
There are good anti-SLAPP laws in both California and Texas to collect damages against those that would knowingly engage in wrongful SLAPP lawsuits.
Further, as an entertainment reporter/journalist, you have 1st Amendment, Bloggers rights, and Reporters rights. EFF.org (based in San Fran) defines some of those blogger rights. https://www.eff.org/bloggers
We don’t know who your information sources are. Even assuming your information sources come from NZK employees who have signed non-disclosure agreements (NDA), they are not binding to you as an entertainment reporter/journalist. They agreed and signed to those terms, not you. If NZK is upset, they can go deal with their people. You are the wrong party to go after. It is your job to report news and information that is brought to you. Even if you actively inquire for information, that is your right as a reporter/journalist to ask questions. No one is being forced to disclose any inside information.
UCLA professor and legal scholar, Eugene Volokh, writes on 1st Amendment and Speech “bullying and “harassment” issues. I am fairly sure he would love to cover a Hollywood-related anti-free speech / SLAPP lawsuit if it were to occur: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/category/bullying-bans/
There are other 1st Amendment folks and blogs that would be interested as well.
If NZK files a SLAPP against you, it seems certain that such a lawsuit would make news in the legal blog and 1st Amendment blog circles and attract numerous allies to your cause. NZK also risks incurring an anti-SLAPP lawsuit coming their way. Given your huge readership, it seems likely you would be able to raise money for legal funds once again.
My question is: Does NZK wish to risk an anti-SLAPP lawsuit in Texas? (Google “Prestigious Pets lawsuit”) It seems to me NZK’s lawyers might want to do some homework on SLAPP, 1st Amendment, freedom of the press, reporters rights, and bloggers rights issues.
Certainly, you are well within your rights to publicize and share the letters you received from NZK if you are inclined. That will certainly get some press attention.
December 1, 2017 at 12:51 PM
As to the prior comment, I think the issue here is that a few years ago RS got into a tiff with the show and signed some sort of agreement to not pursue or get comments from participants that had NDAs. That was to avoid a lawsuit he couldn’t afford when his enterprise was much less lucrative than it is today. That’s my recollection anyway. So RS has to abide by his agreement. But I believe otherwise, without the agreement, you’d be 100% correct. That he could do whatever he wanted with the info however it came his way.
Interestingly, even those participants (with NDAs) these days that share behind the scenes info are not being sued by the show. So I completely believe that this is a toothless shark attack. We’ll see.
And I fully agree with the overseas person that said that the show is MORE appealing when you watch it and sort of bathe in the ridiculousness of it all. Knowing what’s going to happen & watching for the ridiculous antics makes it MUCH more interesting. Watching the show straight up for the “romance” would not be doable for me.
December 1, 2017 at 5:23 PM
I think you may be right about the agreement RS signed not to pursue or get comments from contestants that had NDAs. The problem with that is the burden of proof should not be on Steve. He isn’t part of the NDA patrol squad. That is NZK’s job to make sure their people don’t talk, not RS.
A lot has happened in the last 5 years in the realm of establishing legal precedent for online speech and online reporting. The political climate has changed dramatically and the free press is fighting back harder than ever before. Members of the press are tired of being attacked and being bullied. They are fighting back hard on behalf of the 1st Amendment and freedom of the press. What NZK was able to get away with five years ago would not likely succeed today.
From what I can tell, RS has always been a straight shooter. IF NZK foolishly decides to open the can of legal worms a 3rd time, I suspect RS potentially will have more legal allies in his corner than before.
What RS describes smells the stink of a potential SLAPP lawsuit and there are legal remedies for parties that engage in that sort of overstepping behavior.
With any luck, this will be the only post RS makes regarding the NZK threat matter and the whole matter becomes a bad memory.
December 1, 2017 at 6:11 PM
I’m so sad that RS has to go through this again! I haven’t commented on his website for an extremely long time but I’m so very tired of bullies. It may not be much, but I decided to send ABC my thoughts via their feedback/comment section. I couldn’t ramble on due to a 500 character maximum but did write the following:
“I just discovered that The Bachelor Nation lawyers are targeting Realty Steve again.
I once believed in the Cinderella story of the franchise. With Realty Steve, I have been able to watch the show from a different perspective and I prefer that more truthful perspective. People who don’t wish to know the truth and/or the outcome can “simply” avoid the spoilers.
I may be only one person but I will boycott the franchise that I have been watching since Trista’s season if legal action is taken.”
All the best RS! I’m rooting for you!
December 2, 2017 at 7:47 AM
I have been following RS for years and like others, would never watch this show without knowing the spoilers.
I know plenty of people who watch this show and they are aware of the availability of spoilers through Steve’s website. They always warn me not to tell them the ending and they always act so bewildered as to why I would want to know the ending to the show. From their perspective, that makes no sense and defeats the purpose of watching.
I see it so differently as you all do. If you’re reading this comment and on this site – then we are all in the same camp. I suppose it all boils down to cynicism. We all know this show is a farce and we don’t buy into the premise or the chance that a relationship will turn into marriage or something permanent. So, we see who is the “winner” so that we can watch from a more realistic perspective and pay special attention to words and glances exchanged. Perhaps those who read spoilers are realists and those who choose not to know are more fantasy focused.
Good luck here Steve. Hopefully it’s nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
December 2, 2017 at 11:31 AM
Someone is trying to interfere with page 2 where the spoilers are. A google prize page comes up and blocks.
December 2, 2017 at 1:56 PM
@Caroll, page 2 loads fine for me and all the info is there. I’m on an iPhone though, and using a different browser.
December 4, 2017 at 1:20 PM
I have been an extremely loyal watcher of all the Bachelor shows for at least 8 years (not a diehard believer or anything though. I have always enjoyed most the moments where the show seems to poke fun at itself, and I seriously think it’s time for them to abandon the “true love & romance” angle they try so hard for). I only discovered this blog earlier this year, and have very much been enjoying your podcast interviews with the cast members. Your site is literally keeping my interest week to week in the Bachelor world, where otherwise I would almost definitely forget to watch it some weeks. Like you said, you are literally free advertising for them.
That said, if they actually pursue legal action against you or try to harm you monetarily… I will boycott their stupid show. Screw almost 10 years of viewership… I cannot support a corporation full of rich stinkholes who would actually try to use their money and powerful positions to purposely single out & ruin one person’s livelihood. Whether or not what you do is “right” is besides the point. I believe in freedom of speech, and huge corporations threatening to financially ruin a tiny little person who does no real harm to their franchise is just absolutely disgusting.
December 4, 2017 at 1:49 PM
Like others have said, I believe this is all a scare tactic. A lawsuit against you would be a gigantic waste of time and money, since their ratings are fine and there is no viable proof you have done any damage to their show by spoiling it.
The reality is that social media makes it nearly impossible for any reality show to stay unspoiled and confidential. Project Runway films several designers that are not in the top three showing at fashion week, to keep the finalists from getting spoiled. MTV, on their most recent season of The Challenge, filmed multiple outcomes at the live finale and didn’t show who won until it aired, so not even the contestants knew until after the fact. This was also to avoid spoilers of who won from live attendees of the reunion show. But even then, social media tends to spoil who goes home by week for these shows. Rather than blaming you, NZK needs to think about how they can keep their show from being spoiled and do a better job at keeping it under wraps. People film and take photos of the dates now and send them to Steve that have nothing to do with production or being a source. They’re just people who see them out on the date, and we can then see who went on what dates early on.
I really think you have nothing to worry about, Steve, because their issue is not unique to their show, and there is no law against spoiling. They did this knowing it’d shake you up a bit, and probably hoping you’d hold off on posting a spoiler to avoid problems. Good for you for not being bullied into silence. They and their production company are a joke.
December 15, 2017 at 5:32 AM
Without your spoilers I wouldn’t even bother watching The Bachelor or The Bachelorette.
December 20, 2017 at 12:38 PM
All you posters know that RS doesn’t read these comments right? Or so he says….
January 5, 2018 at 5:53 PM
I love Arie, i hope this “engagement” works out for them…but if it doesn’t, thats okay too he’s insanely good-looking, he could do better than becca lol
January 17, 2018 at 9:41 AM
I’ve watched the show on and off, for a long time now. I lost all interest, until Reality Steve. I found him a few years ago. I’m the woman who reads the end of the book first, does not mind anything being spoiled for me and if you want to know what the ending is, so what? I still watch the show, all those women who start out smart and end up like wild animals over one man. It’s more about how competition changes us. I’m incredibly surprised any couple on that show has made it. Yet, they have and are happy. So, go for it.