A Florida radio host who boasts a following of loyal listeners called “Bubba Army” says the accusation that he verbally harassed a black, female professional wrestler called Awesome Kong over the phone with racial epithets is the “most absurd sh— I’ve seen or heard.”
Bubba the Love Sponge told The Daily Caller—in his first print interview since Awesome Kong accused him of making a harassing phone call—that “I don’t know who called her, if anybody, but it certainly wasn’t me.”
In court papers filed last week, Kong, a performer for the Total Nonstop Action wrestling network whose real name is Kia Stevens, alleges that Bubba, 42, called her at home and yelled racial slurs at her. Ridiculous, counters Bubba, saying he hardly knows Stevens and can prove that the charges are completely false.
“I’ve never called her by phone or talked to her outside of the one time I met her, you know, with her hitting me in the mouth at TNA,” he said. “I don’t know where she lives, I don’t know her phone number, I don’t really know much about the girl.”
The saga began in January, shortly after the Haitian earthquake, when Bubba took to Twitter and in an expletive-laced message urged Americans to send their charity money to the needy in this country, rather than to victims on the Caribbean island. According to Bubba, who is also a backstage announcer for TNA, Kong “didn’t appreciate my comments and came up and hit me in the mouth, three times, and you know kind of blind sided me.”
“When she was hitting me in the mouth she kept saying, ‘This is for Haiti! This is for Haiti!’ like she was f—ing Braveheart,” Bubba recalled.
The radio host did not press charges against Kong after the incident, though he did talk about it later on his show. The threatening call, he believes, likely came from a listener—assuming it happened at all. “I think that there is probably a better chance of her having got a phone call, but you know, there is that possibility that she’s completely making that up,” he said.
It wasn’t until last week, though, that a fan alerted Bubba of Kong’s accusation. “A listener called me and said ‘Hey a wrestling Web site is reporting that you’re getting sued by Awesome Kong.’ And I’m like ‘What?’”
He said he thinks the lawsuit is an attempt to shift attention from King’s backstage attack on him. “Now she’s trying to become a martyr and make herself look like the victim, which in my opinion accentuates just how guilty she is,” he said.
Bubba, who legally changed his name in 1999 to Bubba the Love Sponge (a name that even appears on his drivers license and passport), admitted that the comments Kong have accused him of are “very disturbing,” and the “attributing outrageous racist statements and physical threats to me is disgusting.”
So far Kong has not asked for specific damages. Instead she has requested phone records from AT&T to identify the caller, something Bubba says “would exonerate me.”
He said his schedule that morning was “very regimented” and that he has accounted for the time period. He says he was in his office preparing for his show at the time and video surveillance shows that. And Kong claims that she was called on the air at 5:08 a.m. on Feb. 10, even though his show doesn’t go live until 6 a.m., he said.
“We have phone records and eye witnesses that account for my every movement that day from 4:50 a.m. forward. No call was made to Ms. Stevens at all,” he said.
In an interview, Kong’s attorney Chris Mancini counters that “just because the caller said they were on the air doesn’t mean the caller was on the air… . Frankly, I appreciate his comments but I don’t see how it proves anything.” Mancini goes on to point out that no lawsuit has yet been filed, but merely a bill of discovery. He declined to say how much his client would sue for.
For his part, Bubba says he’s been talking to his attorneys about potential counter legal remedies. “I need to aggressively defend this just so there is no misconception that I did anything close to that,” he explained. He said Stevens “slandered and defamed” him, but he wouldn’t say what type of legal action he could take, saying he’s “at the information gathering stage right now.”
Asked if Kong’s claims could hurt his career and reputation, Bubba initially said he didn’t think so. “People can see through to what it is.” Moments later, though, he revised his view. “I take that back,” he said. “I do think it probably could be somewhat damning. And that’s why I’m real concerned about it. That’s why I need to fight back.”