Shark Tank Investor's Feud With Contestants Got Ugly

Daymond John has been granted a permanent restraining order against former NFL player
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2023 2:30 AM CDT
Updated Jul 30, 2023 9:35 AM CDT
Shark Tank Investor's Feud With Contestants Got Messy
Daymond John of ABC's Shark Tank was the keynote speaker at the Manufacturer and Business Association's 113th Annual Event at the Bayfront Convention Center, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018 in Erie, Pa.   (Jack Hanrahan/Erie Times-News via AP)

A long-running Shark Tank dispute has come to a head, with Daymond John, one of the investors from the reality show, obtaining a permanent restraining order last week against former contestants on the show. As CBS News explains, the drama began in 2013, when former NFL player Al "Bubba" Baker appeared on the show with his family, asking for $300,000 in exchange for a 15% equity stake in their business, Bubba's BBQ & Catering, and its signature product, Bubba's Q De-Boned Baby Back Rib Steak products. John offered the requested investment in exchange for a 30% equity stake and the Bakers accepted, though the stake was later lowered to 20%, USA Today reports.

But the years that followed were filled with disputes between the two sides, with the Bakers accusing John of trying to take the business over and of keeping profits for himself, until the matter was legally settled in 2019. As part of the settlement agreement, the Bakers were barred from making disparaging remarks in the media about John or his company. But in May, the Bakers talked to the Los Angeles Times, telling the newspaper that working with John had been a "nightmare" and that they'd been misled. They also complained that their business had been featured as a $16 million success story on Shark Tank when their family had made less than $660,000. They also defamed John online, he said when filing for the restraining order.

The judge agreed with John, saying that the "unmitigated, calculated, and virulent attack on John and his reputation is ... unusual in its vehemence and persistence." The judge said John had suffered "irreparable" harm to his reputation and ordered the Bakers to cease making any disparaging comments about him and to remove all social media posts that discuss him or their business dealings. "The actual facts, the record and the federal judge's opinion have confirmed that I did not—and could not have—committed any wrongdoing," John said in a statement following the ruling. (More Shark Tank stories.)

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