PALM BEACH — The only thing worse than having to listen to Palm Beach‘s shock-jock Howard Stern is having him broadcast to a million people the private conversation you’re trying to have with an IRS agent.
Or so claims Judith Barrigas, an ordinary taxpayer private citizen who is suing Stern because she says that when she was trying to sort out a tax issue with IRS agent Jimmy Forsythe, her call was put out live over the air on Stern’s SiriusXM show.
Turns out Forsythe, called into the show while on the job — your tax dollars hard at work — and was put on hold. When someone on Stern’s end was ready to talk to him, they picked up the line and they heard the conversation between Forsythe and Barrigas.
And Stern decided to air the discussion live on satellite radio.
That info must’ve also included her phone number, because while she was on the phone with Forsythe, she started getting tons of texts and calls telling her that her personal details were being broadcast on the air.
Barrigas filed a federal suit in a Massachussetts Monday about the 45-minute May 2015 call she made to sort out an issue about her her tax refund.
According to the complaint: “Mr. Stern and ‘The Stern Show’ were fully aware that they were broadcasting and disseminating Mrs. Barrigas’ tax and personal information, yet failed to take any action to stop the broadcast.”
The complaint went on to say: “Mr. Stern and ‘The Stern Show’ joked about the publication and broadcast of Mrs. Barrigas’ tax and personal information and conversation with the IRS’s Agent Forsythe and used the broadcast and the humiliation of Mrs. Barrigas as a source of amusement for their listeners.”
What a dick!
In fact, more than one million listeners worldwide became privy to the details of Barrigas’ life on that call.
The “outrageous violation” of Barrigas’ privacy has negatively impacted her life, making it more difficult for her to find a job, and it’s caused her a great deal of anxiety, even changing her sleeping an eating patterns.
She says there are still copies of Stern’s broadcast floating around on the internet.
Stern, 63, hasn’t commented on the lawsuit.
Barrigas is also suing the United States government claiming unlawful disclosure of her tax return.
Agent Forsythe was placed on administrative leave.