Friday, July 20, 2018
TV and Media

Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, 'MJ' Schnitt recap trial on air

One day after a jury ended five years of legal wrangling by ruling that shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem did not defame rival radio star Todd "MJ" Schnitt, both men hit the airwaves Thursday, taking questions from reporters in displays that often sounded like a broadcast rerun of the lawsuit trial.

Clem struck a jubilant tone through his morning show on WHPT-FM (102.5), congratulating his legal team and casting the verdict as a victory for free speech, airing the disguised voice of a woman who claimed to be a juror on the case.

"I think I out-legaled them," added Clem, who said legal fees for his company and WHPT owner Cox Radio could top $1 million. "The thought we were trying to convey was about the First Amendment, and I think the jury got it. The system worked; it really did."

"I actually don't think you did anything wrong," said the woman, who was referred to as "Jane Doe" on air.

She added that jurors were sequestered from the news and had no idea of some controversies surrounding the trial, including a drunk driving arrest involving one of Schnitt's attorneys.

When asked if she wanted a T-shirt or merchandise from Clem, she quickly answered, "Hell, no," drawing laughter.

By 3 p.m., Schnitt was presenting his side of the verdict on his show for WFLA-AM (970), answering questions from reporters representing Bay News 9, the Tampa Bay Times and WTSP at his space inside Clear Channel Radio's Gandy Boulevard studios.

"Guess what? Jurors let O.J. Simpson go," said Schnitt, who insisted he did not regret filing the lawsuit and wasn't interested in winning money beyond the deterrent a big financial penalty would provide. "Sometimes jurors don't always get it right."

Schnitt tangled most visibly with Melanie Michael, a reporter/anchor from WTSP — whom Clem had thanked for her coverage on his Twitter feed earlier Thursday, urging his fans to follow her on the social media site.

Michael peppered Schnitt with questions about why he didn't consider his wife a public figure despite her appearances on his show, whether he planned to sue the jurors, or if he might leave town.

After the broadcast, Schnitt asked, half-jokingly, "Melanie, are you working for (Clem)?" Michael replied that she asked tough questions of both men.

Material from Times staff writer Jessica Vander Velde was used in this report.

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