Howard Stern/Screenshot via youtube
The controversial Jewish radio personality star has not responded to the claim
Howard Stern is in the midst of a controversy: nothing shocking there.
However, in a twist of events, the in-your-face radio personality is not in the hot seat for an off-color comment or an edgy prank gone too far — instead, he is being sued for airing private information about a woman’s tax information.
Typically, when placing a call to customer service it’s a challenge to get one person on the other end — in Judith Barrigas’ case she got through to millions, but not in a good way.
In May 2015, Barrigas was on the phone with the IRS service center to get information on a potential misapplication of her tax refund when the agent she was with speaking with called into the “Howard Stern Show.” Agent Jimmy Forsyth evidently had a hankering for Howard because in the middle of their call he dialed into the Sirius XM show. While on hold, he took Barrigas’ call from another line and somewhere along the way … the wires got crossed. In the literal sense.
Now, the self-dubbed “King of All Media,” an MOT, is being sued for leaking Barrgias’ tax and personal information, resulting in alleged psychological damage and difficulty in seeking employment. Suing Stern, his production company and the United States on grounds of unlawful invasion of privacy and negligence, she told the station, “…I just feel terribly violated, and I feel like I’m in jeopardy that my credit information might be out there and I’m totally devastated,” according to the Boston Globe.
And while run-of-the-mill, bureaucratic details about an ordinary woman’s tax documents doesn’t typically make for riveting radio, the team at the show chose to air the call. According to Fox News, the lawsuit said, “Mr. Stern and ‘The Stern Show’ were fully aware that they were broadcasting and disseminating Mrs. Barriagas’ tax and personal information, yet failed to take any action to stop the broadcast.” Apparently Stern could be heard screaming “Jimmy!” to the IRS agent.
The phone call that took place between Barrigas and Forsyth lasted 45 minutes and after her phone number was leaked she began receiving an onslaught of calls and text messages notifying her she was speaking to millions of people.
While the clip has been removed from the show’s site as well as from Youtube, Barrigas claims the recorded conversation can still be found on the Internet and as a result she has received a barrage of anxiety-inducing texts and calls.
Stern, 63, has not yet released a statement regarding the lawsuit. But when he does, we bet it will make for good radio.
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