Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dual Survival star Joe Teti sues Mykel Hawke, Special Forces Association for defamation


By Jason Schwartz
December 20th, 2014

In another spectacular turn of events in an ongoing feud between two television celebrities, Dual Survival star Joe Teti recently filed a one million dollar defamation lawsuit against former 'Man, Woman, Wild' star Mykel Hawke.

The suit, filed Nov. 26th in North Carolina Superior Court, claims that Mykel Hawkeye, popularly known as Mykel Hawke, conspired with four other individuals to defame Joe Teti and intentionally deprive him of valuable sponsorships with Cabelas, TOP Knives, Casio and several other companies.

Joe Teti
Photo credit: Discovery Channel

At the heart of the matter are public statements from Hawke claiming that Joe Teti lied about his military qualifications, impersonated a combat veteran, and due to negligence, caused the death of three people during the filming of a TV show that was originally scheduled to air on the Discovery Channel last year.

Here is one of Hawke's public statements:

"This is not about a man (Cody Lundin) who was hired for not wearing shoes for 20 yrs and 4 seasons on a show (Dual Survival), and then fired for the same thing. It's about what changed. That change (Joe Teti) came with a truck load of falsehoods. Those got 3 men dead. Now this real survival guy (Lundin) has been fired. 

It is easy to see the fake drama created to make the new 'expert' look like a hero, but his real record is anything but, and now, he continues to risk more folks' safety. Sorry, truth hurts sometimes. Anyway, next article in the installment of soap opera drama, and somewhat belittled again, by the media, failing to grasp the real issues. Nonetheless, I share, as was shared with me. Judge as you will."


Teti claims in the lawsuit that he did not embellish his military record. He says the real reason Hawke, his old friend and former commander, started the smear campaign is because he had "tried and failed to initiate a television career based upon his military service" and was "driven by the motive of jealousy to destroy Mr Teti's successful television career."

The suit further claims that Hawke enlisted the help of Special Forces Association President Jack Tobin, Special Forces Association member George Davenport, 'Military Phonies' website creator Scott A. Hughes, and a private individual by the name of Monique Haina to carry out the defamation campaign against Teti.

The Special Forces Association website:

"CIVIL CONSPIRACY"

According to the court filing, Teti's attorney, former Special Forces Officer David Redding, says Special Forces Association president Jack Tobin and Special Forces Association member George Davenport assisted Hawke in his defamation campaign by intentionally giving false information to the Army Times regarding the cancelling of Teti's membership.

The article in question, titled "Dual Survival star stripped of SF Association membership," was widely circulated in internet forums and made major news headlines when it was released on October 1st. (NOTE: It appears the Army Times has taken down the article as of this writing).

Teti's attorney says Tobin and Davenport were not being honest when they implied that Teti was kicked out of the Special Forces Association, after soldiers that Teti served with came forward to them with allegations of his misconduct.

Davenport was quoted as saying "He’s an embarrassment to the Regiment, because of the falsehoods, lies and embellishments he’s used in association with his Special Forces qualifications. I personally checked with the Special Forces schools and he did not go to those courses. There is no record of him attending.

Special Forces Association President Tobin was quoted in the article stating "Mr Teti is no longer a member and cannot rejoin."

Davenport, who also runs the “Special Forces Poser Patrol” Facebook page, added Teti to the group’s “Wall of Shame” September 30th after the Special Forces Association's decision to discontinue his membership.

Redding says that all Teti did was miss paying his annual dues, causing a lapse in membership. When Teti went to make a payment to reinstate his membership, he was told he could not re-join the group. 

According to Teti's attorney, Tobin and Davenport spun the story into something much more serious when they spoke with the Army Times regarding Teti's membership being discontinued.

Going into more detail in the suit, Redding says:

"Mr. Tobin refused to comment further on the specifics of Mr. Teti's disassociation from the SFA in order to implicitly affirm Mr. Davenport's slanderous statements about Mr. Teti. By the conduct of Mr. Tobin, the SFA has adopted the slanderous statements of Mr. Davenport. 

As a result.....the public is left to conclude that the disassociation was based on Mr. Teti's conduct...when in fact....it was (done) without cause and was done by the SFA in violation of its own constitutional due process requirements.
"

Casting an even wider net, the lawsuit names 'Military Phonies' website owner Scott Hughes, whom Teti says defamed him by publicly accusing Teti of stolen valor, and Monique Haina, a private individual who apparently posted numerous critical posts about Teti around the internet.

Hughes reacted to the suit by telling the Military Times "I'm not worried about it,"I'm actually glad to see it, because hopefully this will force him to show his DD-214 and his NGB-22, which is what we've been asking all along. There's a lot that will come out in court, if it comes to that."

Haina denies she was enlisted by Hawke, telling the Military Times "I don't believe I defamed him. We've simply been asking for him to prove his claims."

The Plot Thickens- Hawke Family granted permanent protective order against Teti in Texas 

The lawsuit also reveals that Mykel Hawke was able to secure a permanent protective order against Joe Teti in the State of Texas on the grounds that Teti stalked Hawke and his family. The protective order caused Teti to lose his rights to own firearms due to federal law.

Mykel Hawke and The Special Forces Association's reaction to the Lawsuit

Jack Tobin and the SFA "did not respond to repeated requests for comment," according to an article in the Military Times. Davenport also declined to comment, pending consultation with his attorney.

The Times article states that Joe Teti declined to comment, but Teti has been posting photos on his Facebook page to counter critics who say he hasn't completed certain training, such as Combat Diver School (link to photo).

Mykel Hawke, however, has not remained silent.

When asked about the suit, Hawke told the Military Times "We actually are looking forward to a court case so we can subpoena his real records and finally show the truth."

Hawke also took his argument to his Facebook page, telling his fans "According to this (lawsuit), we are all liars conspiring out of jealously and only one man is honorable? The same man who makes military valor claims to the public for profit, but says his records are too secret to show and prove his claims."

Teti's attorney David Redding, says Teti will seek more than $1 million in damages in the suit.


ADDITIONAL READING:

Has "resume embellishment" returned to Dual Survival? Bloggers claim Joe Teti is not a combat veteran

Facebook War Erupts between Mykel Hawke and Joe Teti

Former 'Man Woman Wild' star Mykel Hawke speaks out about the firing of Cody Lundin

Major sponsor drops 'Dual Survival' star; Teti fires back at critics

TOPS Knives Drops Joe Teti

Military Times- Discovery survival stars take fight to the courtroom

CNN iReport- The Hawke Family FINAL STAMPED LIFETIME PERMANENT PROTECTIVE ORDER (PPO)

Courthouse News Service- Discovery Channel Star Files Defamation Suit

Dual Survivor' star Joseph Teti denies he lied about military service as sponsors retreat


About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. Jason has also written for magazines such as The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com (without spaces)

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