“Shark Tank” star and celebrity investor Daymond John has been granted a temporary restraining order against three former contestants he went into business with via the show after they repeatedly savaged him on social media about their alleged “nightmare” experience, court papers say.
Under the order handed down in New Jersey federal court Friday, ex-NFL defensive end Al “Bubba” Baker, his wife Sabrina and daughter Brittani are now banned from speaking out publicly about their experience with John in the wake of their 2014 appearance on the ABC reality TV show.
The Bakers — who created Bubba’s Q Boneless Baby Back Ribs — must also delete the “disparaging” social media posts they made where they detailed their business relationship with the celebrity investor and accused him of trying to take control of their entity, the ruling states.
“All the Bakers’ posts are negative, disparaging, or both and certainly could impact DFV’s and John’s reputation, goodwill, and credibility,” US District Judge Robert Kugler wrote in his ruling, referring to the DF Ventures entity John set up to do business with the family.
“These posts clearly caused reputational harm that John will now have to deal with and counter.” The legal action against the Bakers came after the family alleged to the LA Times earlier this year that John and his associates had misled them, tried to take their business and deprived them of profits in the show’s aftermath.
The Bakers, who appeared on season five of “Shark Tank”, had accepted an on-air offer from John for a $300,000 investment for 30% of their boneless ribs company.
They claimed the offer was later revised off-air to $100,000 for a greater 35% stake. In a slew of social media posts, the family took aim at John and accused him, in part, of being a dodgy businessman.
The judge questioned the Bakers’ motives, writing in his ruling that the court could only conclude the family wasn’t doing this “to try to improve the business.”
“Instead, the Bakers’ enmity, antipathy, and animosity toward John, DFV, and the Rastellis overcame their financial self-interest and their ability to reasonably work through their issues with John, DFV, and the Rastellis,” Kugler wrote.
Rastelli Foods Group is the meat manufacturer the Bakers had retained to do business with them and John. “Today’s decision against the Bakers, their company, and their false statements is a moment of vindication,” John said in a statement.“
The actual facts, the record and the federal Judge’s opinion have confirmed that I did not — and could not have — committed any wrongdoing. I have always upheld transparency and honesty throughout my journey as an entrepreneur.
“I am grateful for the support that I’ve received during this time and will continue defending my reputation with the same passion I bring to empowering fellow entrepreneurs.”
The ruling makes permanent a temporary restraining order against the Bakers that was granted by the judge last month.