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Dr. Robert Huizenga, the sports doctor who has worked with The Biggest Loser contestants for the past 17 seasons, is suing a former contestant and the New York Post for defamation in connection with claims that he encouraged unsafe and illegal weight-loss methods on the show, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Michigan federal court.
Contestants began publicly clashing about the ways in which they lost weight after a scientific study suggested the rapid change might permanently slow their resting metabolisms.
Joelle Gwynn told the Post that her trainer on the show offered her illegal drugs to help her shed weight.
Huizenga claims the publication defamed him in that story and two others published online in May.
“Among other things, the Defamatory Posts falsely state that the Show employs ‘secret and brutal tactics, which include providing illicit drugs to contestants and submitting them to questionable medical exams by the [S]how’s resident doctor, Robert Huizenga, known as ‘Dr. H,'” states the complaint.
Huizenga claims reporter Maureen Callahan contacted him for an interview and his attorney informed her that the claims about him were false and defamatory. Those claims include that Huizenga knew contestants were starving themselves and using illegal drugs, and he not only did nothing to stop it, but even urged it.
“Despite this actual notice and knowledge of the falsity of the statements about Dr. H, the New York Post published the false and defamatory statements about Dr. H in the Defamatory Posts,” the complaint reads. “Moreover, a reporter for the New York Post has been directly contacting third parties, including but not limited to former Show contestants, about the revocation of Dr. H’s medical license.”
This lawsuit comes on the heels of an announcement that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the claims.
Huizenga is represented by Charles Harder, who in March won a $140 million verdict for Hulk Hogan in his privacy lawsuit against Gawker.
NBC and the show’s producers declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The full lawsuit is below.
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