TAMPA, Fla. — Radio personality Bubba Clem, better known as Bubba the Love Sponge, is suing Cox Media Group, which he claims maliciously destroyed his business relationships and career because executives were jealous of his success in Tampa after he left Cox Radio.
Along with Cox, he is also suing radio hosts Mike Calta and Matthew Loyd.
Clem was under contract to host the Bubba the Love Sponge show on Cox-owned radio stations, including Tampa's WHPT 102.5, from January 2008 until the end of 2014.
The lawsuit alleges that after Cox chose not to renew Clem's contract and Clem began doing his show on competing station WBRN, Cox executives engaged in a systematic campaign to remove Clem as competition.
According to the lawsuit, Cox management encouraged and promoted statements by Calta who suggested Clem was tampering with the ratings -- which reportedly led to an investigation by the Nielsen ratings agency.
The lawsuit alleges Cox pressured Nielsen into removing ratings meters from households that showed a preference for Clem -- in order to negatively affect his ranking in Tampa-area radio.
For years, Clem was best friends with wrestler Hulk Hogan, who reportedly once believed Clem had leaked the famous sex tape of Hogan and Clem's ex-wife. Hogan sued Gawker after the footage was published online, and the $130 million judgment led to the blog's bankruptcy.
In 2015, 10Investigates revealed police believed Loyd, a former Cox employee, was the person who stole the video from Clem's office -- something Clem's lawsuit also claims.
"A witness recalled seeing Loyd and Calta together in 2012 watching a Video of Hogan and Cole having sex, which they were Viewing on a desktop computer at Cox’s ofﬁce in St. Petersburg," the lawsuit claims.
Loyd, who was known as "Spice," was never criminally charged.
In a statement to The Baltimore Sun, Cox Media group denied any wrongdoing.
“While we typically do not comment on active litigation,” the company told the newspaper, “the suggestion that our company participated in a conspiracy or any wrongdoing alleged in the complaint is simply false and without merit.”
Cox Media owns and operates 14 television stations and 61 radio stations in more than 20 markets.
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