On June 5, blogger and Bachelor spoiler extraordinaire Steve “Reality Steve” Carbone announced via Twitter that he and NZK Productions – the company that produces the Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor Pad franchise – had reached a settlement with regards to the lawsuit filed against him. As millions of Bachelor Nation fans and followers already know, NZK had filed the suit during Ben Flajnik’s Bachelor season, when the company claimed Steve engaged in “tortious interference” by allegedly offering contestants money in exchange for information.
In an entry posted yesterday, Steve explained why he finally agreed to settle. For one thing, the case was likely to drag on for years and cost upwards of several hundreds of thousands of dollars. Second, he just wanted to get back to doing what he does best: providing exclusive details and spoilers about the episodes way in advance of their airing. Steve is quick to point out that – with the exception of a one-time offer made to three girls during Ben’s season which was he was NOT taken up on – he has never offered or paid sources for information.
Under the terms of the settlement, Steve is still free to report the news – he just can’t “initiate” contact with cast or crew members under contract. Is he worried it will affect his status as the go-to source for all things Bachelor? Not so much. In an exclusive interview with Wetpaint Entertainment, Steve explains why.
Wetpaint Entertainment: Is there a big feeling of relief now that it’s all over?
Steve: Yes, it's a huge relief. Waking up every morning for the last 7 months knowing that my legal bill was increasing every day wasn't fun. They've been sending me settlement agreements since January trying to end this thing, but none of them had language in there that I was comfortable with. It was all in their favor, and I was opening myself up to future litigation.
To be clear, you haven't agreed to stop spoiling the show, you've only agreed not to initiate contact with anyone under a confidentiality agreement, is that correct?
That's correct. I will still continue to spoil the show. Look at it this way, for three years I've never paid anyone for information, and look at all the spoilers I've given. Well, that'll just continue. I don't need to pay for information since I think I'm pretty good at getting it. I momentarily lapsed last season and figured I'd try to see if Jaclyn, Emily, or Casey S would bite and they could fill me in on some things missing, but they didn't.
A lot of your fans believe the attention your spoilers receive and the size of your readership only HELPS the show, not hurts it. Do you agree?
Without a doubt what I do only increases viewership to their show. They know it, I know it, and my readers know it.
For the past several months, there’s been a button on your site where readers can donate to your legal fund. Now, you've taken the donation button down. Why? Aren't you still left with a huge legal bill?
Yes. I still have quite a hefty legal bill that covers seven months of my lawyers going back and forth with their legal team, hearings, phone calls, emails, etc. But I said the reason I put the donation button up was to help with court costs while it was still ongoing because it was starting to get ridiculous. But the minute the case was dismissed, I'd take it down. And I did. I got a little help from readers which I appreciate and their funds went directly to my lawyers, but now that it's over, I'll finish off paying it by myself. Probably will take a little while, but it'll get done.
How grateful are you to all your fans and readers who stuck by you throughout this ordeal?
It was very nice to get the support both financially, and even just in emails and comments on Twitter about it. I appreciated it. The misconception this whole time was "Well no wonder Reality Steve gets all the spoilers, he pays for his info," and that couldn't have been more wrong. I've never paid for spoilers. I tried during Ben's season, but was unsuccessful. There's a big difference.
Look, my site is essentially a news source. I'm no different in what I do than what any magazine you read out there, or television network does. They have the ability to pay people for comments, interviews, etc whether it’s on record or off record. For 3 years, I just stood by and watched it happen and not thinking I'd ever do it because I didn't need to. Information just came to me. But when I was a little thin on info during the middle episodes of Ben's season, I figured I'd give it a try. Needless to say, that's the last time I'll ever do that. Obviously wasn't worth it.
Burning question: will the agreement you've signed affect the quality of your spoilers? Will you still be the #1 site when it comes to all things Bachelor?
I'd like to think so. Nothing is changing in terms of what you'll get when you come to my site. When I get spoilers, I will post them. I think because the last two seasons not only have I been dead on, but the spoilers came so quickly and people knew right away whom the "winner" was, some people have gotten spoiled. And maybe there are some that think because of the lawsuit, I haven't gotten the info I get in the past or that even I was holding out to announce the "winner" on Emily's season for fear of getting in trouble or something. That's just ignorance. Look at how many spoilers I DID give during Emily's season, all while the lawsuit was still going on. I'm not holding on to anything.
Sure, I've heard a lot of the rumors regarding who Emily is chosen, but until I hear from my sources and am told specifically from people I trust, "Yes, this is 100% how it plays out," then there's nothing for me to post. And as of now, I have not heard what happens at the end of her season that I can write about with 100% certainty.