Bubba the Love Sponge engaged in an on-air slapdown of Florida political blogger Peter Schorsch two weeks ago but then followed with a big fat apology.
The popular radio shock jock is not used to saying "I'm sorry" to anyone.
But nothing is business as usual for Bubba Clem, whose every on-air comment and some of his personal life – including a pending divorce from wife, Heather – have become fodder for an anonymous blogger who goes by the pen name Ludlow Lebron.
Determined to reveal Ludlow's true identity, Bubba launched an on-air counter-assault against Schorsch recently, thinking he had his man. No luck. Instead, Bubba ran straight into Schorsch's lawyer.
But the body-slamming has yet to stop, with listeners and readers unsure whether the feud is just another media stunt or if Bubba is serious. Bubba even obtained video surveillance from Mike's Pizza, when Ludlow revealed he had been there ordering a Chicken Dip Pie.
There is no accounting for taste in this highly public spat, which increasingly seems like an unreal mashup of "WWE" and the "Beverly Hillbillies." Using a Facebook photo of a simpleton Good Ole Boy, Ludlow relentlessly keeps reporting on the radio host's every insult and snicker.
Patch emailed Ludlow last week to try to find out just what he is up to and whether the public and Bubba will ever learn his true identity.
Q. Who are you, and why are you writing a blog and tweeting about Bubba the Love Sponge Clem?
A. "I'm Ludlow Lebron, Media Consultant. That's all I'd like share about my identity. As to why I blog about Bubba, that was never my plan. Things just snowballed into what they are now. I started several months ago with a few critical tweets about Bubba the Love Sponge. I think his vicious attack on fellow radio personality Cledus T. Judd, for writing a tribute song for Caylee Anthony, was probably the straw that broke the camel's back. That's when it really struck me, radio schtick aside, this guy is just not a good person. So I took to Twitter (http://twitter.com/ludlowlebron), exercised my 1st amendment right, and vented on various issues I have with Bubba.
"Within minutes of my first critical tweet, I was attacked and threatened by a bunch people who think they belong to the 'Bubba Army.' One of these individuals really got under my skin, and I reacted by stepping up my attacks and Tweeting more, with the sole purpose of getting under their skin and exposing Bubba for the person I think he really is. Eventually Bubba took notice and blew up on me on Twitter and then later on his radio show.
"The Blog (http://realbubba.wordpress.com) was never planned, but as the attacks and threats on me increased, I felt the need to step up my rhetoric and NOT just disappear as others had. Since then many people from all walks of life and all over the country have come out in support of me."
Q. From what I have heard on the radio and what I have been told, Bubba is unnerved by your ceaseless observations and insider knowledge about his life. How would you gauge his responses?
A. "His response to me was horrible. He couldn't have mishandled me or this situation worse. I honestly wanted to get on Twitter and vent for a few days. I would have then disappeared. I have a career and other things going on in my life that my energy could be better focused on, but when Bubba and others threatened me, vowed to find me, etc., the last thing I was going to do was disappear. I'm not wired that way. The first time he attacked me on Twitter, I gained 100 or so followers. Then he dedicated an entire segment on the air to attack and lie about me. That equaled another 200+ followers. That's when he got the the attention of other people, 'insiders,' who had a beef with Bubba, and they began contacting me to provide support and information.
"What should Bubba's response to me have been? He should have never mentioned me. He should have been a professional and simply carried on with his show. He made this situation what it is today by his inability to control himself or follow guidance from those close to him."
Q. Are you surprised that Bubba, who makes a living criticizing others, would get so upset when sharp words are delivered at him?
A. "I would be if I hadn't heard Bubba do this with others before. Through the years, publicly and privately, Bubba has made others' lives miserable with his words. Very few have stood up to him. Because I'm anonymous, I can. Bubba claims to be a huge supporter of the 1st amendment, but in my case, he would like to take that right away from me. It's a very hypocritical response."
Q. Are you trying to make a point politically by some of your comments about Bubba? If so, what is it?
A. "I'm just a guy who's not going to be bullied. The more I'm threatened and lied about, the more I feel the need to defend myself. I guess if any political point needs to be made, it would be that we all have the right to free speech. Bubba may have a larger platform and audience then the rest of us, but we still have the right to voice our opinion without fear of threats and retaliation."
Q. Why do you think that Bubba mistakenly believed for a while that you are actually political blogger Peter Schorsch?
A. "That question truly baffles me, too. I have asked the same question of Bubba and others that are close to the situation. No one has an answer. There is no explanation. Someone obviously led him to Peter, but I can't understand why. Peter and I very different people. We've never met. He wouldn't know me if I walked up to him and said "Hi". There is absolutely no link between Peter and I. I'd really like an answer to that question. Bubba mentioned "evidence" linking the two of us, but has refused to share that evidence.
"He did have a surveillance video from Mike's Pizza, where months earlier I had posted a picture of myself with an order of Bubba's chicken dip pizza. He briefly posted this surveillance video to his YouTube channel so that everyone could see who Ludlow was. This was the same video he referenced on the air when saying he had Peter on tape at Mike's Pizza. I viewed the video before it was removed, and the guy on video, who Bubba claims is Ludlow, bares no resemblance to Peter. No one could look at the guy in that video and conclude it was Peter, but Bubba did. This raises even more questions as to why Bubba pointed the finger at Peter Schorsch.
"My theory is that Bubba saw Peter as an easy target because of his past. Bubba needed to find Ludlow to save face with the Bubba Army and he didn't care if that meant he nailed the wrong guy. He needed a win that day and he got it. He outed Peter then held a 'We found Lud party' at Mike's pizza that afternoon."
Q. Did Bubba's estranged wife, Heather, ask you to create this blog?
A. "No. We did not have any contact until after the blog was up and running."
Q. In an article on Bubba's pending divorce, it was noted that both Bubba and Heather have agreed not to disparage each other in public. Are you Heather's proxy?
A. "No, although Heather and I discussed the blog at lunch, Heather has not provided any information used in the blog, nor has she requested that I write about any certain subjects."
Q. Why write anonymously? Will you ever reveal your identity?
A. "Easy question. Simply look at what happened to Peter Schorsch last weekend. Even before Bubba "outed" him on the air, the harassment from the 'Bubba Army' had begun. It lasted the entire weekend and the Army didn't stop at Peter. They took down his website (his main source of income) and even went after his fiance too! It is well known that if you're a critic of Bubba the Love Sponge, you don't get an opportunity to go at him one on one. That's not how Bubba handles business. You also have to deal with 1000's of fanatic fans, The Bubba Army. He'll incite them to harass your family, your employer, etc...I'm not anonymous because I want to be. I'm anonymous because I have to be.
"It's disturbing that Bubba will not hesitate to abuse the power he is privileged to have as a successful media personality. It's even more disturbing that companies like Cox Communications allow this dangerous rhetoric to be broadcast on their airwaves. Since I started tweeting and blogging about Bubba I have received many many threats of violence that are well documented. One Bubba Army member even threatened to kill my beloved Beagle. Should I reveal myself, I have no doubt that some of the Bubba Army would attempt to follow through on their threats. All too please Bubba. No good would come out of me revealing my identity."
Q. Do you consider what you are doing cyber stalking?
A. "Absolutely not. I blog about Bubba and Tweet about him. He may not like what I'm saying, but it's an opinion I'm expressing. Labeling it cyber stalking is irresponsible and slanderous. I continue to be very careful about staying on the right side of the law. With that said, it's important to point out that there has been attempts made to track me and my IP address, so that I can be located and threats that have been made to me can be carried out. Images that I have posted on my blog have been taken and analyzed for any information that could be used to track me. Considering the public threats that have been made to me, along with the efforts to track me, I think Bubba should be the last one accusing me of cyber stalking."
Q. Are you trying to ride to fame on Bubba's celebrity coattails?
A. "No. I have no desire to be famous. I'm anonymous, after all. I wanted to vent and go away. That was it. The reaction from Bubba and others changed all that."
Q. What is your ultimate goal? When do you plan to stop?
A. "If Bubba could stop attacking people who criticize him and also stop inciting the 'Bubba Army,' I would consider this a successful venture. However, I have no expectation of that happening. When will I stop? Probably fairly soon. I believe my point has been proven."
Q. Anything else you want to add?
A. "As my blog started to gain traction a popular Bubba the Love Sponge message forum that was part of the sternfannetwork.com began to talk about what I was saying, and most of the commenters there supported me. Two weeks ago the webmaster of SternFanNetwork took down the Bubba forum and explained that he had done so at Bubba' request. My response was to start my own message board where listeners are free to discuss the Bubba the Love Sponge show regardless if they agree with me or not. That forum can be found here: http://realbubba.boardhost.com
"Some on air claims that Bubba made concerning me need to be cleared up. In addition to accusing me of cyber stalking, Bubba has accused me of having him and his family under surveillance. That could not be further from the truth.
Bubba has also accused me of locating and contacting a woman whom he has been intimate with since being separated from his wife. He claims I offered this woman $450 for information about Bubba. That is also an utter fabrication. I have no knowledge of anyone that Bubba has dated and certainly no desire to contact them."