VanderSloot drops lawsuit after reporter admits false statements
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IDAHO FALLS — Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot dropped a lawsuit against a former Post Register reporter after the journalist admitted statements he made about VanderSloot were false.
VanderSloot was the prevailing party in the civil case against Peter Zuckerman.
The civil case against Peter Zuckerman centered around a May 2012 television appearance on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” During the show, Zuckerman asserted VanderSloot publicly “outed” him as gay in a 2005 advertisement in the newspaper. The ad, placed by VanderSloot, disputed the Post Register’s reporting on a series of articles about pedophilia in the Boy Scouts.
VanderSloot and Zuckerman reached a confidential settlement agreement Monday. EastIdahoNews.com contacted Zuckerman and his attorneys for comment Tuesday, but have not received in a response.
In a affidavit filed Monday, Zuckerman admitted an Idaho Falls radio show talked about his sexual orientation long before VanderSloot published his advertisement.
“I already had spoken and written about my sexual orientation and the radio show in Idaho Falls had discussed the topic long before Melaleuca published the Community Page ads,” Zuckerman said. “Clearly, locally, many people knew that I was and am gay before the first Community Page ad came out.”
In 2012, Zuckerman appeared on Maddow’s show and said his boyfriend lost his job because of VanderSloot’s ad.
In the affidavit, Zuckerman wrote:
“That was what I believed to be true when I said it, but it was not true. My boyfriend at the time did tell me he was fired because of the ads. I believed him. He later posted about it on Facebook. However, those statements turned out to be untrue.”
Zuckerman went on to say his boyfriend was fired from different jobs in Idaho Falls because he was gay, but “those events occurred before the Community Page ads were published.”
More than a year ago, Zuckerman’s then-boyfriend, Dylan Stone, provided evidence that Zuckerman’s comments on the Rachel Maddow Show were false.
In Monday’s affidavit, Zuckerman wrote he regrets harm he may had caused to VanderSloot and his family. He also applauded the Melaleuca CEO for publicly supporting the “add the words” campaign in Idaho.
“The ‘add the word’ legislative campaign … would give gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Idaho some basic human rights protections … a ‘gay basher’ would not be a strong supporter of such a campaign,’” Zuckerman wrote.
The Zuckerman case was originally part of a larger legal dispute between VanderSloot and Mother Jones Magazine involving tweets identifying VanderSloot as a “gay basher.”
VanderSloot issued a statement Tuesday afternoon regarding the settlement:
“It took over two years to get the truth out. But we finally have it … We have known since the beginning, the statements that Peter made on the Rachel Maddow show were simply not true,” VanderSloot wrote.”These lawsuits were never about money. Nor were they an effort to punish the defendants for their untruths and inaccuracies. They were simply an effort to clear our good name and to set the record straight.”
VanderSloot’s attorney, Tom Clare, issued the following statement concerning the settlement:
“Frank VanderSloot reached a confidential settlement with Peter Zuckerman to resolve the lawsuit filed against Mr. Zuckerman last year. The settlement agreement itself is confidential, but a critical component of the settlement is public — and was attached to the stipulation of dismissal that we filed with the Court last evening. Specifically, Mr. Zuckerman recanted his false statements on the Rachel Maddow show in a sworn affidavit setting the record straight. In that affidavit, Peter Zuckerman admits that his statements about Mr. VanderSloot were false. He also admits that the stories he told about what happened to him after the Community Page Ad ran were false. The allegations that Mr. Zuckerman made about Mr. VanderSloot were contradicted by Mr. Zuckerman’s own contemporaneous writings and internet postings, and employment records from Peter’s boyfriend. Peter Zuckerman’s then-boyfriend, Dylan Stone, also provided an affidavit that makes clear that Mr. Zuckerman’s prior statements about Mr. Stone losing his job because of Mr. VanderSloot were false. All of the evidence confirmed that Mr. Zuckerman’s statements were untrue. We’re pleased that Mr. Zuckerman has now recanted those statements. This recantation provides a total vindication of Mr. VanderSloot, and we could not be more pleased with this result.”