The two-week long shock jock trial ended this week with a verdict exonerating Bubba the Love Sponge Clem. Clem had been sued by Todd "MJ" Schnitt, who had accused Clem of defamation and threatening him (Schnitt) on-air.
The trial prompted comments and headlines such as "Could Tampa's shock jock trial get any weirder?" (Tampa Bay Times, January 26, 2013), in which columnist Sue Carlton writes that "Even at a circus, you can only take so many clowns." ("Could Tampa's...?")
Both Bubba the Love Sponge Clem (yes, folks, that's his legal name!) and Todd "MJ" Schnitt have a history of being Tampa Bay's shock jocks. Until several years ago, Schnitt was one-half of the radio team MJ And BJ; however, the team broke up in 2001 when BJ left, due to personal problems. Clem has pulled numerous publicity stunts over the years which have gotten him into trouble, including uttering on-air racial slurs, allegedly harming animals while on air, and suing a porn star, among other stunts.
During the trial one of the lawyers managed to get arrested over a DUI, prompting arguments from both sides as to whether it had been a set-up.
In the end, while Florida may be considered to be Flo-weird-a to the rest of the country, the shock jock trial between Bubba the Love Sponge Clem and Todd "MJ" Schnitt may help the Tampa Bay area to be considered Weird Central.