Mike Boudet, host of the true crime podcast Sword and Scale, is threatening legal action against another true crime podcast host who claimed Boudet bombarded him with one-star reviews on Apple Podcasts.
Justin Drown, the host of Obscura, made the allegations in comments to The Verge that were published last week. Boudet didn’t respond to a request for comment at the time, and Boudet and his lawyers didn’t respond to a request for comment on this article.
Drown speculated that an influx of one-star podcast reviews for Obscura could have originated from Boudet hiring an automated service to inundate the show with bad ratings in an attempt to “decimate” the rival show. Earlier in the week, the Tampa Bay Times profiled Drown and briefly mentioned his criticism of Boudet as a true crime host. Drown also feuded with Boudet while serving as a moderator on a subreddit for Boudet’s show.
Boudet’s podcast lost distribution after he posted a sexist slur
Boudet has been at the center of controversy before — Wondery, a podcast network, dropped Sword and Scale after Boudet used a sexist slur on his Instagram account during National Women’s Day. He’s also reportedly asked fans for nude photos and has been accused of being overly revealing of victims’ personal details.
Boudet’s website says that he stepped away from the show after an “off-color joke” pushed an “advertiser boycott.” It says that Boudet has “often publicly rallied against political correctness, which has angered many of his critics.” Boudet only recently returned as Sword and Scale’s host and now accepts donations on the show’s website and also offers membership tiers that include exclusive content and merch discounts.
In a cease-and-desist letter sent to Drown, Boudet’s lawyer demands that Drown “retract all defamatory statements” related to “false and fabricated” allegations against Boudet.
“Our clients have not engaged in any review manipulation directed towards your podcast, nor to anyone else, ever,” the letter says. “Our clients did not direct, approve, condone, or compensate any person, entity, or service to create reviews on your podcast.”
The letter claims that Drown’s allegations are “defamatory and will negatively impact our clients’ business.” It also says Drown is accusing Boudet of “illegal behavior, possibly resulting in significant financial consequences.”
Boudet and his legal team have asked Drown to remove mentions of the Verge article from his personal and professional Twitter accounts and to tweet a statement saying his claim was “unverified, unfounded, and false.” They’ve also demanded that Drown contact The Verge and ask that we delete a paragraph mentioning Boudet. (Drown has not made this request, and we have not changed our story.) Following our report, Apple removed more than 300 one-star reviews from Drown’s show.
Drown says he reached out to Boudet’s legal team about the letter, offering to tweet something to the same effect in his own words, but hasn’t heard back yet. The letter says that unless Drown commits to these actions, Boudet “may be forced” to pursue legal action. Of course, actually winning a lawsuit would require Boudet to show that he wasn’t actually behind the negative reviews.
You can read the letter in full below.