- (PHOTO) Twitter: @RonaiahTuiasoso
Dr. Phil is suing Gawker Media over the interview with the man behind the Manti Te'o hoax, according to reports.
A lawsuit was filed this week by Peteski Productions, which is Dr. Phil's production company, according to TV Guide.
Peteski Productions is claiming that Gawker Media posted online footage of Dr Phil's interview with the man behind Manti Te'o hoax without their permission.
Dr. Phill held a long interview with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, which was split into a two part series by the production company. However, before Gawker posted part of the interview online before Dr Phil's people had the chance to push the interview footage out to everyone themselves.
Peteski Productions had planned to intrigue viewers following part 1 of the interview, leaving fans wondering whether the second part of the interview would show Ronaiah Tuiasosopo using the voice he had used to trick Manti Te'o.
However, before part 2 of the interview was broadcast, Gawker Media pushed out some footage from the exclusive out onto its website. Peteski Productions now claims that the early publishing of the interview from Gawker potentially lost them many viewers who did not then come back for part 2.
Tuiasosopo claimed to have posed as a woman in an internet relationship which lasted several months, and confessed to being in love with Manti Te'o. Te'o, the University of Notre Dame linebacker, believed Tuiasosopo was a woman.
"Here we have a young man that fell deeply, romantically in love," Dr. Phil said of Ronaiah during an appearance on the "Today" show. "I ask him straight up ... was this a romantic relationship with you? And he says, 'Yes.'"
Te'o, 21, made national headlines after it was revealed on Jan. 16 that his supposedly dead girlfriend, Stanford student Lennay Kekua, never actually existed.
The Heisman Trophy finalist had cried to media outlets claiming that he suffered the loss of both his grandmother and Kekua within the span of one day in September, drawing public sympathy. However, it was eventually revealed to be a hoax. Critics had initially suspected that Te'o knowingly played a role in the hoax for sympathy.
"I wasn't faking it ... I wasn't part of this," Te'o recently told ESPN's Jeremy Schaap during an off-camera interview. "Two guys and a girl are responsible for the whole thing. I don't know. According to Ronaiah, Ronaiah's one."