‘Shark Tank’ celebrity investor Daymond John has been awarded a restraining order against former contestants by a New Jersey federal court.
A judge ruled Friday that former NFL defensive end Al ‘Bubba’ Baker, his wife Sabrina and their daughter Brittani were prohibited from speaking online about their ‘nightmare’ dealings with John after his appearance on the show in 2014.
After appearing on the show’s fifth season, John made an on-air offer to invest $300,000 for a 30 percent stake in his boneless rib business, Bubba’s Q. That deal was later revised to $100,000 for 35 percent after the show.
The bitter relations between the Bakers and John became public after a story broke. published in LA Times in which they claimed that the investor and his partners tried to take over their business and eventually stopped promoting their product.
A federal judge has banned former professional football player Al ‘Bubba’ Baker (left) and his daughter Brittani Bo Baker from discussing investor Daymond John (center) online
Al ‘Bubba’ Baker, his wife Sabrina and their daughter Brittani are pictured in front of a Bubba’s Q food truck
Then, in various social media posts, they criticized both John and his partners.
The judge’s decision Friday makes permanent a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order issued last month.
It requires the Bakers to remove existing statements and prohibits them from commenting further on John and Rastelli Foods Group, a meat manufacturer contracted to produce the Bakers’ patented Bubba’s Q boneless baby back ribs.
Rastelli Foods Group alleged that the Bakers had made false and defamatory statements against them. John had set up an entity called DF Ventures to do business with the Bakers rib company.
“All of the Bakers’ posts are negative, derogatory or both and could certainly affect the reputation, goodwill and credibility of DFV and John,” Judge Robert Kugler wrote in his order.
“These posts clearly caused reputational damage that John will now have to address and counter.”
The judge suggested in his ruling that the family had not sought a remedy, but was instead taking out their frustrations publicly.
He wrote that the court “could only draw one logical conclusion: the Bakers are not doing this to try to improve the business or further some other legitimate purpose.”
“Instead, the Bakers’ enmity, antipathy, and animosity toward John, DFV, and the Rastellis outweighed their own financial interest and ability to reasonably resolve their issues with John, DFV, and the Rastellis.”
In a statement to social media on Saturday, John welcomed the judge’s order, describing it as a “vindication moment.”
Bubba Baker and his daughter are seen throwing the boneless baby rib eye steak to the sharks in 2014
After appearing on the show’s fifth season in 2014, John made an on-air offer to invest $300,000 for a 30 percent stake in his boneless rib business. He later revised himself to $100,000 for 35 percent.
Bubba Baker said he had once considered Daymond John (pictured in 2022) ‘family’
Bubba Baker had been running a family barbecue restaurant in Ohio when his daughter urged him to appear on ABC’s Shark Tank in 2013 to get an investment in her boneless rib business, the family told the Times.
Bubba told the Times that he was disappointed that his relationship with John had gone downhill so quickly and that he once considered him “family.” The newspaper reported that hard times had forced him to close his restaurant and sell his truck.
“I was very proud of my relationship,” he said. “I just never expected economic marginalism from another African American.”
In his own statement to social media on Saturday, John hailed the judge’s order, describing it as a “vindication moment.”
“The actual facts, the record, and the opinion of the federal judge have confirmed my innocence, proving that I did not and could not have committed any crime,” he wrote.
“I take great pride in the reputation of someone who supports entrepreneurs and I will not let this stop me from continuing to empower and educate entrepreneurs around the world,” he added.