Howard Stern is being sued after he leaked a personal call in May 2015 between a woman and the IRS on live radio, according to a report by Page Six.
It started when IRS Agent Jimmy Forsyth called in to The Howard Stern Show, and was placed on hold by a producer. The radio show is known for its off-kilter humor, often receiving call-ins from their listeners to do prank calls on unsuspecting people.
It’s unclear why Forsyth placed the call into the show in the first place, but while on hold, the producer took a call with Judith Barrigas on a separate line.
Hosted By MFrazz: Howard Stern sued for reportedly airing woman's IRS conversation https://t.co/0YJ0cU5eMz
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Barrigas called the IRS about a possible misapplication of her 2014 tax refund. The agency apparently applied her refund to outstanding balances from 2011 and 2012, though she had already been placed on a payment plan.
The call lasted 45 minutes. Barrigas was none the wiser that by some mishap the producers of The Howard Stern Show were able to listen in, or that the producers then decided to air the confidential call.
At one point in the show, Barrigas phone was heard by listeners all over the country. The woman’s phone was then bombarded by listeners calling and texting trying to get her attention and make her aware of what was happening.
Barrigas said when she realized that her personal information had just been broadcast to the entire country, she was devastated. She said that she immediately began to “quiver,” and thought that someone was pranking her.
The woman said she desperately tried to get in touch with the IRS to no avail. The IRS eventually contacted her to make her aware of the incident, but not until the agency was contacted by local news agencies.
The IRS began an investigation into the matter, and Agent Forsyth was placed on administrative leave.
“My phone number is out there, my personal conversation, and I just feel terribly violated, and I feel like I’m in jeopardy that my credit information might be out there and I’m just totally devastated.”
The agency made a statement saying that they are looking into the matter, and treating it with the utmost gravity.
The conversation was removed from the internet, though a clip of the recording can still be heard in a newscast. Stern is heard yelling, “Jimmy!” in the clip, seemingly trying to alert the agent to the situation.
Barrigas said her personal and professional life has been negatively impacted since the incident. She claimed to have issues with sleeping and eating, and finding employment.
Barrigas is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as legal fees accrued during the suit.
[Featured Photo: AP/Ben Hider/Invision, File]