UPDATE: A spokesperson for the corporation that owns radio station WWL sent Outsports its official statement, and said beyond that she could not comment further, “neither on the substance of the findings nor any other details of the investigation.”
The full statement is below.
ORIGINAL REPORT: Two big developments today in the case of the out gay radio host who was called “a fag” in a tweet by his own radio station. Seth Dunlap is threatening WWL Radio with a lawsuit, claiming he is a victim of “an appalling history of discrimination” throughout his eight years as an employee. And the station has issued its first statement, declaring it’s turned its investigation over to law enforcement.
In an email sent to Outsports by his attorney, Dunlap accuses the company that owns the New Orleans radio station, Entercom, of allowing “an anti-gay, bigoted, and hostile work environment to flourish, and that Entercom as well as its corporate lawyers were aware of instances of homophobia and discrimination and did nothing to protect Seth or its LGBTQ+ employees.”
This all started earlier this month, after Dunlap posted an open letter to New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees on Facebook, reacting to a video Brees recorded for Focus on the Family. The anti-LGBT group enlisted Brees to encourage children to take their bibles to school next month. Dunlap tweeted a link to his open letter and identified himself as “an openly gay man.”
Then the next week, when the host asked his Twitter followers about a Saints win over the Texans, someone used the station Twitter account to tell Dunlap, “you’re a fag”.
Since Sept. 10, Outsports has repeatedly contacted the station, including today, and station management has each time declined to comment about the tweet and about Dunlap.
Wednesday afternoon, a reporter at the local newspaper The Advocate was first to tweet a statement by WWL management, which said in part, that it’s out of their hands now.
The statement says:
“WWL has completed its investigation into the highly offensive, unauthorized tweet sent from WWL’s Twitter account on September 10, which directed a homophobic slur at Seth Dunlap. WWL conducted this investigation with the assistance of an external digital forensic firm and outside counsel, and expended considerable internal resources both in New Orleans and on our corporate staff.
“We determined that the most appropriate next step is to involve law enforcement. At this point, the investigation is in the hands of law enforcement and it is not appropriate for us to comment any further on the substance of our findings.
“WWL is proud to be a trusted source of news and information for the Gulf South, and we strive to be inclusive at all levels as a steward of the community and a good corporate citizen. We remain committed to supporting all members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“We apologize to our listeners, clients, partners and employees for this abhorrent, disrespectful act.”
The host took a leave of absence on Sept. 13. Other than his statement released that day, he has been silent on Twitter. Attorney Megan Kiefer, who is an out gay woman, did speak with Outsports on Dunlap’s behalf. She said she herself was once a victim of discrimination. “I was punched in the face and called a dyke,” Keifer said.
As for Dunlap, “They took away his ability to define himself,” with the F-word tweet.
We asked her about the possibility Dunlap posted that tweet himself. “No, absolutely not, just categorically,” Keifer told Outsports. “He is a victim here.”
To back that up, Kiefer provided a report from a polygraph Dunlap took on Sept. 25.
According to the report, he was asked three questions:
The following pertinent questions were asked during the polygraph examination.
“Did you send that tweet?” Dunlap said, “No.”
“Did you send that tweet from WWL?” Again, Dunlap said, “No.”
“Did you plan with anyone to send that tweet?” And he responded, “No.”
According to the report provided by Kiefer, “It is the opinion of this examiner, Seth Tyler Dunlap was being truthful during testing.”
Dunlap remains on a leave of absence from WWL.
“I think his leave of absence reflects te significant emotional turmoil that he is experiencing as a result of this,” Kiefer said. “Especially given the fact that they haven’t identified the individuals who attacked him on the Internet. It doesn’t seem like a safe space for him to go back to.”