Man suing Florida mayor for defamation over ‘Wheel of Fugitive’ videos, claiming he lost a job after falsely labeling him a runaway
A man filed a defamation lawsuit against a Florida sheriff who posted weekly “Wheel of Fugitive” videos to social media, saying he wasn’t a fugitive when his name and photo appeared several times in 2021 in longtime inspired sheriff posts. – Playing the TV game show “Wheel of Fortune”.
Because of his mayoral positions, David Jay lost his job and suffered emotional distress, according to the lawsuit, which seeks damages of more than $50,000. The lawsuit was filed last week in state court in Brevard County, along Florida’s Space Coast.
The suit said Jay’s prospective boss called him while he was driving to his first day on the job and told him not to bother showing up because he’d seen “Fugitive Wheel” videos in Brevard County.
In videos posted to social media, Ivey spins photos of what are described as 10 of the county’s most wanted fugitives.
Ivey says in a The video was posted last week. “We want them off the street and in peace behind the bears where they can’t hurt anyone else.”
He spins the wheel and explains the charges against the alleged deserter, who “wins”.
Ivy then addresses the alleged fugitive, urging them to “do the right thing” and turn themselves in.
During the video, a disclaimer scrolls across the bottom of the screen, reading in part: “The suspects may have since been arrested or their alleged charges have been resolved or otherwise dismissed.”
A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office on Monday did not respond to an emailed inquiry seeking comment on the lawsuit, but Ivey told The Associated Press that “everyone is watching.”
“Even the fugitives are watching him,” he said, to see who becomes the “Fugitive of the Week.”
Jay was involved in the court system for an undisclosed crime, the suit said, and was sentenced in November 2020 to three years of probation to withhold trial, a special sentence in which the defendant is not formally convicted of a crime.
Jay was taken into custody for violating his probation in January 2021 after he was arrested several weeks earlier on a misdemeanor count of domestic battery. He says he believes his father got into a physical altercation with his mother, and the case was eventually dismissed.
However, while Gaye was in jail for violating probation, Ivey said in a video titled “Wheel of Fugitive” that Gaye was a fugitive, when in fact he was in the Brevard County Jail, according to the lawsuit.
The suit said Gaye appeared in three more episodes of “Wheel of Fugitive,” including the day after he was sentenced to probation under the same conditions previously imposed and released from custody.