DETROIT (CN) — The resident doctor on "The Biggest Loser" claims in a federal complaint that the New York Post and a former contestant on the weight-loss reality show shattered his reputation.
Robert Huizenga, a Los Angeles resident better known to television viewers as Dr. H, says the untrue statements appeared in a trio of articles last week.
The May 22 article was titled "'Biggest Loser' drugged us so we'd lose weight." A day later 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."
Filing suit June 2, Huizenga says the articles quote Joelle Gwynn, a former contestant from the 2008 "Couples" season, as saying he forced contestants to take "illicit drugs."
Describing himself as "a world renowned health expert and one of the most esteemed sports doctors of all time," Huizenga says his attorney urged the Post not to publish such lies when a reporter contacted him for comment.
Since the Post went to print anyway, "this lawsuit became necessary to protect Dr. H's hard-earned reputation and stature in the medical community, which he has spent the last several decades building and which cannot be allowed to be destroyed within seconds by defendants' false statements in the defamatory posts," the complaint states.
A spokeswoman for the Post meanwhile said the tabloid stands by its reporting.
The May 22 article says Huizenga "encouraged contestants to take street drugs while starving themselves and to lie about how much weight they were losing," according to the complaint.
"People were passing out in Dr. H's office at the finale weigh-in," that article continued.
The Post also reported that "five people had to be rushed to the hospital" in Season 2.
"[Dr. H] knew exactly what we were doing and never tried to stop it," the article continued.
Huizenga says "the false and libelous statements had the foreseeable effect of severely harming Dr. H's personal and professional reputation, and were made by defendants to intentionally interfere with Dr. H's existing and prospective business relationships."
To date, the Post has ignored Huizenga's demands for a correction, apology and retraction.
Huizenga says a Post reporter has also been contacting former show contestants and other third parties about revoking his medical license.
"These false statements wrongly accuse plaintiff of having made statements and acted in a manner that would subject him to hatred, distrust, contempt, aversion, ridicule and disgrace in the minds of a substantial number in the community, and were calculated to harm him social and business relationships, and did harm his social and business relationships and potentially may even lead to the termination or suspension of his medical license," the complaint states.
Huizenga says he has championed an aggressive nonsurgical, nondrug approach to obesity on the past 17 seasons of NBC's "The Biggest Loser."
"Gone Girl," "The Doctors" and "Into the Wild" are among 25 other movies and television shows that have relied on Huizenga's medical expertise, according to the complaint.
Huizenga says he was even "requested to testify as an expert witness by the 2009 House of Judiciary Committee looking into repetitive brain injuries (CTE) in football players."
The doctor is represented by Deborah Gordon of Bloomfield Hills.
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