Former Philadelphia meteorologist John Bolaris says he’s become a laughingstock in the media ever since he was drugged by two women and duped out of more than $43,000. Can his reputation be repaired? And, Zoel opens up about her online sex chat with a married meteorologist that caused him to lose his job — and damaged Zoel’s relationship with her 21-year-old daughter, Kayla, whom she recently reunited with after 19 years. Can Kayla learn to trust her mother again?
A Real Life Hangover
John says he was enjoying a drink by himself at a hotel bar in Miami more than two years ago when he was approached by two women who appeared Russian. “The women were sophisticated, dressed very elegantly,” he says. “I walked up to the bar, and these girls followed me and sat behind me.” After having a glass of wine, John says the women urged him to do a shot with them, but he refused. “No thanks, I don’t do shots,” he recalls telling them. Then, he says one woman held his head back and coerced him into taking the shot — and that’s when the night got interesting. He says he doesn’t remember much from that night except that he awoke the next morning in his hotel room with a wine stain on his shirt and a mysterious painting beside his bed.
A Career and Reputation Ruined?
John says he contacted police in Miami about what happened, and they turned the case over to the FBI. After setting up a sting operation, he says investigators uncovered a well-orchestrated crime ring going through Miami, which allegedly victimized 88 people.
John says he was concerned that the nature of the crime might jeopardize his career, so he went to the Human Resources Department at the television station where he worked in Philadelphia and was told it was his problem to fix — not theirs. Aware that he was not supposed to speak to the press, he admits he did anyway, because one paper planned to run a story saying he had entertained Russian prostitutes. He says after attempting to set the record straight, the story ran — and made him look like an idiot. He says the cover read: John Bolaris lives the real Hangover. “I was upset,” he says.
“I felt horrible that they would smear his name over something where he was a victim of a crime,” John’s fiancée, Erica, says.
John says he was later given permission by Human Resources, through his attorneys, to do an interview with Playboy, which was published in December 2011. But, he says he gave an off-the-record interview to help clarify and give the reporter a sense of who he was, and that information was used against him.
“The article was full of embellishments, lies, to a point to make him look like a cartoon character,” Erica claims.
Playboy has issued the following statement regarding John’s claims: “The story published in Playboy Magazine speaks for itself.”
John says he was let go from his job and even wound up in the emergency room on Christmas Day after having what he thought was a heart attack from all the stress. “I never imagined an innocent night at the bar would cost me my dignity, losing tens of thousands of dollars, my credibility, my livelihood and throw my life into the abyss,” he says.
John says he has testified before a grand jury in the ongoing case and helped to put 17 out of 18 suspects behind bars. “In my wildest dreams, I never thought I’d ever become a victim of a scam like this,” he says. “My reputation has been most likely tarnished beyond fixing.”
“I think you have gotten an incredibly raw deal in the media. I think you’ve gotten an incredibly raw deal in your career,” Dr. Phil tells John. “I know you’re a good father, and I certainly hope somebody steps up and gives you a chance to get back in the arena.”
Sports photographer Zoel says her initial online interaction with married Connecticut weatherman Geoff Fox was casual and usually about photography — and she claims she knew nothing about him at the time she accepted his friend request. She says Geoff, who shared an interest in photography, often commented on her photos and critiqued them. But, she says, things changed after she briefly posted a provocative photo of herself. “His comments started having sexual overtones; but I did too,” she admits. “It became a game to me, and I just wanted to see how far he would go.” Zoel says that several weeks later, their racy conversations went viral, and Geoff sent her a panicked message, saying he thought he was going to be fired from his job and that his marriage was in jeopardy. She says because of the headline-grabbing scandal, people see her as a home wrecker. “That’s what happened,” she admits. “I wrecked a home.”
Zoel says two months ago, she reunited with her 21-year-old daughter, Kayla, after a 19-year separation. “When we split, he got custody,” Zoel explains. She says she ran into Kayla’s father in a store, and they both decided it was time for her to reconnect with their daughter. “It was important for me to establish a relationship with her because I’ve missed so much out of her life.”
“All of the anger, all the hate, it was gone,” Kayla says about their reunion. “It was just like all that time was never lost.” Kayla says soon after, she surfed the Web and stumbled upon headlines about the scandal involving her mother. “I haven’t known her that long, but I would never think she would do anything like that.” Kayla says the trust that she and her mother had started to build has been broken.
Dr. Phil urges Zoel to come clean to Kayla about her past. “In this day and time, there is not one thing about you that [Kayla] can’t find out,” he says. “And if you share it with her, then she’s going to have gotten the truth from you; and if she finds it out otherwise, then you are going to have lied by omission.”
“There’s so much that I’ve done,” Zoel says, choking back tears. “I’ve talked to her about my past and that I left home when I was a teenager, and that I lived on the streets for a lot of years, and I made money off the streets for a lot of years; and she understands that, and I teach her the lessons that I’ve learned from living that lifestyle.”
Dr. Phil tells Zoel that he knows there’s more she needs to share with her daughter. “I think there’s a lot that you need to sit down and talk with her about — not only the what, but the why,” he says. He turns to Kayla and says, “She’s made some really bad decisions, but there are also some inspirational survival [stories] in there as well.”