Seth Dunlap

The story of the homophobic tweet directed at WWL (New Orleans) host Seth Dunlap from the station’s own account has seen some developments. That incident happened Sept. 10, and Dunlap announced two days later that he was taking a leave of absence from the station. Early Wednesday afternoon, Dunlap’s lawyer Megan Kiefer put out a statement questioning the response to this incident from WWL and parent company Entercom; here’s that statement in its entirety, via Kevin Allman of Gambit (a New Orleans alternative weekly newspaper, but one that’s now hosted as a subsite on TheAdvocate.com).

It has been fifteen (15) days since WWL tweeted from its official twitter account calling its employee, Seth Dunlap, a “fag”.

Seth has been patient with Entercom Communications during this time, largely withholding public comment in an attempt to allow the investigation to ensue and in hopes of fair and amicable treatment.

To date, Entercom has not apologized to Seth for this incident. Rather, Entercom has refused to provide any evidence whatsoever to Seth regarding their investigation. They have provided no forensic investigatory reports, Twitter data, surveillance footage, interview transcripts or recordings, polygraph results, or any other documents or evidence to Seth or the media relative to their investigation into this shocking event.

Due to the lack of any evidentiary updates from Entercom, Seth voluntarily submitted to a polygraph test administered by a certified and licensed expert polygraph examiner. The results of the testing, which have a 95% accuracy rate, concluded that Seth was truthful during the polygraph testing, and completely exonerated Seth from any involvement in the offense tweet whatsoever. The report is attached.

It is our understanding that up to fourteen (14) Entercom employees have password access to WWL’s twitter account. Seth is not one of the employees that had any access whatsoever to the Twitter account at the time of the offense tweet. Of note, we have requested information about whether Entercom’s employees, including the fourteen employees who have password access to WWL’s twitter account, have submitted to voluntary or mandatory polygraph testing, and Entercom has refused to respond to that request.

Due to the fact that this expansive Pennsylvania corporation has provided absolutely no evidentiary update to us or the media relative to the status of their investigation in over two weeks since this tweet, is concerning and, quite frankly, suspicious.

If Entercom is attempting to use the vast resources at its disposal during this time to create a narrative to avoid its own culpability by implicating any innocent employee, including Seth, we should all be outraged and there should be consequences. It is indisputable that this tweet was egregious and shocking; however, it is unsurprising. In the coming weeks, we will reveal the appalling history of discrimination Seth has experienced during his eight years at Entercom as an openly gay man.

Once all of the evidence comes to light, the inescapable conclusion is that Entercom has allowed an anti-gay, bigoted, and hostile work environment to flourish, and that Entercom as well as its corporate lawyers were aware of instances of homophobia and discrimination and did nothing to protect Seth or its LGBTQ+ employees. We will be preparing a lawsuit and complaint in the upcoming weeks that will discuss these instances in more detail.

A few hours later, WWL announced that they had completed their own investigation, and that they were bringing in law enforcement, with the New Orleans Police later confirming to they were leading that investigation.

There are a lot of strange things going on here, starting with WWL’s statement not including an apology to Dunlap, with it mentioning “an external digital forensic firm,” and with it including the involvement of law enforcement. As Vargas wrote later, that seems to mostly make sense if WWL believes the tweet somehow came from someone who wasn’t a station employee.

If that tweet wasn’t from a WWL employee, and if they can prove that, both big ifs, that adds further challenges to any workplace discrimination lawsuit. And perhaps that explains why they aren’t apologizing here; that could be seen as an admission of responsibility, especially with a lawsuit on the horizon. If the station thinks they can show they weren’t responsible for the tweet in question, it makes some sense that they don’t want to take ownership of it. The lack of an apology has understandably led to a lot of criticism for them, though.

Of course, though, the claims from Dunlap’s lawyer include the “appalling history of discrimination Seth has experienced during his eight years at Entercom as an openly gay man,” so the tweet isn’t the sum total of what’s going on here. Meanwhile, that lawyer’s statement also seems to preemptively try to avoid Dunlap being blamed for this himself, complete with polygraph test results (as convincing or unconvincing as those may be) and with a claim that he didn’t have access to the station Twitter account. There haven’t been any accusations against him at this point, though. We’ll see what shakes out here, but with both a police investigation and a potential lawsuit on the horizon, it will certainly be interesting to follow.

[Gambit]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing.