MANHATTAN (CN) – Taking his federal defamation complaint against the New York Post to New York, a former house doctor for NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” is represented now by the attorney who pinned Gawker for Hulk Hogan.
Both suits name as defendants the New York Post and former “Biggest Loser” contestant Joelle Gwynn over a trio of articles that ran in May 2016.
The Post’s first article on “Dr. H” as he is known to viewers was published on May 22; “‘Biggest Loser’ drugged us so we’d lose weight,” its headline said.
On May 23, the Post ran “‘Biggest Loser’ contestants demand NBC cancel show” and a second story titled “‘Biggest Loser’ rigged weigh-ins by forcing contestants to eat baking soda.”
Gwynn is quoted in one of the articles as complaining that Huizenga and other “Biggest Loser” staffers pushed mysterious black and yellow stimulants onto contestants. “People chastise Bill Cosby for allegedly offering meds to women, but it’s acceptable to do [sic] to fat people to make them lose weight,” she had said. “I feel like we got raped, too.”
Black-and-yellow-colored “Yellow Jacket” pills contain ephedra extract, which is used to promote weight loss and boost energy. The Food and Drug Administration banned the pills in 2004.
In the May 23 article, the Post reported that the show had “tried to boost its ratings by pushing boring contestants to ingest baking soda so that they would retain water and gain weight and get booted off.”
Huizenga maintains in his complaint, however, that he “advocates for safe and effective weight loss methods, and has championed his aggressive non-surgical, non-drug approach to obesity on the past 17 seasons of the hit television series ‘The Biggest Loser.’”
“The safety and well-being of contestants on the show are of utmost importance to Dr. H,” the complaint continues.
Saying that Post refused his demands for a correction, apology and retraction, Huizenga says the newspaper’s “fictitious and outright libelous statements” have interfered with his professional reputation. They also allegedly cost him business opportunities such as a production deal for a reality-television show based on Truthfulbrain.com, a program that uses MRI neurotechnology for lie detection.
Huizenga seeks punitive damages for defamation. He is represented by Charles Harder at Harder Mirell & Abrams. The Beverly Hills attorney famously won a $140 million verdict last year against Gawker, which the wrestler Hulk Hogan had sued for posting clips of his sex tape.
Representatives from the New York Post did not immediately respond to request for comment.