Aaron Tuttle needs $65,000…
12:13 PM EDT on August 15, 2016
Yesterday afternoon I was hanging out with some family watching the Olympics when the following text came through:
“Have you seen this? LOL!!!”
The text would be the first of about 50 notifications I'd receive that included a link to a Go Fund Me that Aaron Tuttle recently set up to “Help Save ATs weather." Thanks to bad business decisions, the rising cost of spray tanner and the legal expenses associated with frivolous lawsuits, I guess he needs $65,000 to make ends meet and keep his weather empire up and running. Considering Aaron Tuttle is a good guy and you can't get weather coverage for free on television or countless websites across the interwebs, it seems like a worthy cause to support.
Hi, my name is Aaron Tuttle and I am a meteorologist in Oklahoma City. Since 2009 I've been providing free weather forecasts on Facebook . I offer this as a public service helping others, which I greatly enjoy doing, as it is better to give than to receive.
Aaron and I don't see eye-to-eye on many things, but I do agree that "it is better to give than receive." Now let's get back to Aaron Tuttle asking people to give him $65,000:
Over time many of you requested a weather app. So I took the bull by the horns and released one of the top free weather apps in the country, ATsWeatherToGo . Hi-resolution radar data, lightning, and personal notifications from myself and emergency management are just a few of the freebies. In addition, the app uses proprietary algorithms that detect the development of tornadoes before they occur, giving you more time to seek shelter. No other app can do this.
With the app came a newly designed website, AaronTuttleWeather.com, filled with all of the weather information you need. I also provide live streaming severe weather coverage. There is now an alternative in the OKC market to the over-hyped "we're all doomed" severe weather coverage that now plagues the TV airways which causes unnecessary anxiety for many.
Let’s give Aaron some credit. The man works his ass off. He’s a built a huge social media following and provides a service that many Mustang moms find important and valuable. Thanks to him, we can now get all of our “over-hyped ‘we're all doomed’ severe weather coverage” conveniently on Facebook. That's important.
Unfortunately all of this came at a great cost. Not only did this consume all of my available free time, but a very large sum of money. I had to rob my own retirement and what existing cash I had on hand to fund all of the weather programs, broadcast and computer equipment, the app, web development, data costs, forming a business entity, etc.
I can identify with Aaron on this one. Running a website isn't cheap, and as the washing machine in my mom's basement reminds me on a regular basis, it isn't very profitable, either. I would never recommend dipping into your retirement savings to start one.
In addition, a popular local blog has continued an internet bullying campaign of putting my name and business down by co-opting what didn’t belong to it over the years. I turned to the law to put a stop to it, and the case was thrown out. To add insult to injury, this blog was then awarded attorney's fees. So what I've learned from this experience is that bullying is protected by the law, even when it's used for the sole purpose of financial gain. The legal system has failed me and it's disheartening. Sometimes evil does win out in this world and good guys can finish last.
Yikes, that sounds like a pretty awful website! What type of disturbed individual would waste their time reading an evil twisted thing like that?! If you still visit The Pioneer Woman after this, there is something seriously wrong with you.
Actually, I'm joking around. I think Aaron may be talking about us. Although I fundamentally disagree with whatever point he's trying to make, he is right about one thing. Whether you're parodying or criticizing a public figure, or yelling and screaming at your co-workers and calling them pussies, "bullying," or at least Aaron's interpretation of it, is protected by the law:
Let's talk about that lawsuit for a second. Back in December of 2015, Aaron filed a defamation / invasion of privacy / conversion lawsuit against us. We immediately lawyered up with Dunlap Codding. After warning Aaron and his attorney several times that A) the lawsuit had no chance and B) we would attempt to recover attorney’s fees under the Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act if the lawsuit wasn’t dropped, the case eventually made its way to Judge Barbara Swinton’s docket. She dismissed it in April without a hearing or oral arguments.
At that point, our legal team at Dunlap Codding began their pursuit of attorney's fees. Following an August 3rd hearing, Judge Swinton ruled that Tuttle must reimburse the firm $25,000. Yeah, that’s right. $25,000. I bet you can buy a lot of private weather forecast with that much money.
Anyway, let's get back to the Go Fund Me...
Finally, before you ask if I have any other financial means available to me, I do not. I lost all of my appreciable home equity in my divorce a few years ago and I still drive the same 2002 Pathfinder with 250,000 miles on it. My mechanic tells me there's so many things wrong, I'm on borrowed time and not worth repairing.
So I would like to keep your free weather service going, but I need your help. I need to raise about $65,000 just to cover all of the above expenses over the past couple of years. Unfortunately without the funding, I won't be able to continue ATs Weather as it is today. If the donations exceed the goal, that additional funding will be used to provide even more free app features as my way of giving it back to you.
Starting this funding campaign was not an easy decision to make. I'm humbling myself before you, swallowing my pride, and opening myself up to more public ridicule as a result. Please donate what you can and thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Here's the deal. Did we cross a line in our coverage of Aaron Tuttle? I don't know. It's debatable. Making light of his divorce was probably a shitty thing to do, but the guy's a public figure, and has done some peculiar, extraordinary things to get noticed. What isn't debatable, though, is how poorly Aaron's handled the entire situation. I don't know if he received and followed some really bad legal advice or simply needs some intensive anger management therapy, but he could have saved everyone a bunch of time and money by simply playing along, showing he can take a joke, and making light of the whole situation. Instead, he went full F5 Trump psycho on us.
That being said, despite my strong thoughts about Aaron's hypocrisy, self-righteousness, double standards, illogical delusions, and all the time-wasting headaches he's created for us over the past couple of years, I actually feel a tiny bit of sympathy for the guy. $25,000 is a lot of money, and way more than I've ever had in the bank. As a result, I'm going to take the high road, extend a bit of an olive branch, and encourage everyone who's ever had a laugh at Aaron's expense to donate to his cause.
Hopefully this will help Aaron move on with his life, pursue his dreams and goals, and show him just how good "evil" can be. The only thing I ask is that you use the name Hugh Janus when giving your donation. That way, Aaron will know where the donation came from: