A former PPM panelist in the Tampa market has sued Nielsen, claiming the ratings company revealed his identity as the one who came forward with information that led to Nielsen suing Bubba “The Love Sponge” Clem in 2015 for ratings manipulation.
Nicholas Tabachuk, the so-called “cooperating panelist,” filed his case in Pinellas County Court, claiming Nielsen promised to keep his identity confidential if he came forward with the information against Clem, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Tabachuk claims Nielsen met with Clem and revealed him as the whistleblower in the ratings tampering scandal. Attorneys for Clem and Nielsen eventually settled the years-long case out of court.
Since Clem learned of his name, Tabachuk says fans of the radio host harassed him with death threats, rape threats and stalking, hacking his social media accounts and showing up at his home and the home of his parents. “The mayhem that followed was horrific for Tabachuk and his family,” the lawsuit states, according to the Times.
He claims he had to move out of Florida to avoid the wrath of Bubba’s Army.
“The shock jock has a legion of dedicated fans at his disposal. It was well-known that anyone crossing the shock jock would be subject to potential harm by his rabid listeners,” the lawsuit states. “Thus, to induce Tabachuk to report the information, Nielsen promised Tabachuk that Nielsen would never disclose his identity. That was a lie.”
Tabachuk’s identity was revealed in publicly available filings made by Nielsen’s attorneys in the drawn out lawsuit.
Tabachuk is seeking an “amount in excess of $30,000” claiming he has endured “months of crushing fear, psychological damage, economic hardships, lost opportunities and expenses.”
Clem is not named in the lawsuit and the Times says Nielsen has not commented on the court filing.
After a three-year extended court battle that produced 263 separate filings, court orders, legal notices, and other motions, Clem settled with Nielsen in July 2018. Nielsen was seeking at least $1 million in damages. How much Clem actually paid remains a mystery.