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‘Shark Tank’ Celebrity Investor Daymond John Files Restraining Order Against Former Contestants After LA Times Article Questioning Deal


The “Shark Tank” waters are getting deadly.

Shark Tank” celebrity investor Daymond John has asked the court for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against one of the show’s former contestants Al “Bubba” Baker, along with his daughter, Brittani, and his wife, Sabrina.

John is seeking to enjoin the family from further publicly discussing what they claim to be their “nightmare” experience in the aftermath of their participation on the ABC reality TV show and business deal with John, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Seems Baker complained recently to The Los Angeles Times that the show did him dirty. The former NFL player pitched his boneless ribs in 2013 on the show, which has been a mainstay on ABC since 2009. John, who made his fortune with the urban clothing line FUBU, is one of the regular sharks, along with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, real estate magnate Barbara Corcoran, and businessman Kevin O’Leary. Often times there will be a guest shark, such as Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow.

The show’s concept is simple and straightforward: Entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to the “sharks” for funding.

Baker Bubba’s Q Boneless Baby Back Ribs was a hit with the judges, and he landed a deal with investor John. The show often calls it one of its biggest success stories. But wait, said Baker, not true. He and his family say they received barely 4 percent of the business’ publicized $16-million revenue, according to The Los Angeles Times report.

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On May 21, three days after The Times’ interview with Baker, John posted a three-and-a-half minute video response on Twitter, TikTok, and other social media platforms, accusing the Bakers of violating a confidentiality agreement and said that The Los Angeles Times article was a “flawed interview and false narrative.”

That same day, John’s lawyers sent the Bakers a cease-and-desist letter informing them that they “were in breach of the Agreements” and demanding they stop “making publicly disparaging or defamatory remarks against Plaintiffs, and further, cease publicly revealing Confidential Information,” according to court filings.

Baker came on the show to expand his already successful barbecue restaurant and business in Ohio. His daughter suggested “Shark Tank,” her favorite show. Baker and hid daughter appeared on the show in September 2013 during Season 5, and their presentation resulted in John offering them a deal. Now they accused John and some of his partners of misleading them, trying to take over their business, and not shelling out the profits properly.

A federal judge in New Jersey dismissed the Bakers’ case this week without prejudice, citing jurisdictional issues. John, in turn, has filed an amended complaint that is pending. Rastelli Foods, one of John’s partners involved in the deal, also is seeking a restraining order against the Bakers, alleging they have made “false” and “defamatory statements” against the company.

“After repeated attempts to give the Bakers the ability to correct their violations, it is unfortunate that it has come to this,” Zach Rosenfield, spokesperson for Daymond John, said in a statement. “This temporary restraining order is due to the Bakers’ blatant actions to undermine a business partnership and the legal parameters they agreed to 4 years ago. Their belief that they can unwind poor business decisions through slanderous social media posts and articles will no longer be tolerated.”

According to the Bakers, following John’s on-air offer of $300,000 for 30 percent of the company, he later revised the terms of the deal to $100,000 for a 35 percent stake. And they said the partnership with John and Rastelli Foods was troublesome, and that with Al Baker was left out of key business meetings and not informed about real-time financial information.

John is refuting many of the Bakers’ claim, and said he played a key role in helping their rib business. He pointed out that he was a non-managing partner of the company “without access or control over the company’s books and records,” and that his role and duties “are limited to acting as a “brand ambassador.”

Also, John stated in his complaint that he “is operating at an overall financial loss from his business dealings with Defendants, while Defendants acknowledge they have reaped at least $659,000 in profits alone.”

Al Baker (left, image: John (right) arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on March 27, 2022, at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

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