TAMPA — News reports about a lawsuit Peter Sloan filed against actor William Shatner drew widespread response Thursday, including an email tying Shatner to Sloan’s biological mother at the time of the Tampa man’s conception.
Sloan, who filed the lawsuit in Tampa on his own behalf, is demanding $170 million in damages and for Shatner to undergo a DNA test to determine whether he’s Sloan’s father.
Someone following the case emailed Sloan on Wednesday with a link to the website Internet Movie Database, IMDB.com, and a page there on a Toronto television series called “Encounters.” The page lists Shatner and Kathy Burt as members of the cast of a December 1955 episode titled “Forever Galatea.”
Sloan’s birth mother went by Kathy McNeil, her maiden name, as well as the stage name Kathy Burt, which later became her married name.
Shatner’s publicist did not reply to requests for comment.
Sloan has long claimed that a working relationship between Shatner and Burt led to a one-night affair in March 1956. Shatner’s publicist previously told the Tribune that Shatner’s camp had no idea whether the two ever knew each other.
Sloan was adopted shortly after he was born. When he reconnected with his birth mother, Burt, in the early-1980s, she told him Shatner was his biological father. She repeated the story in a letter she wrote to Sloan in 1987, which he later showed the Tribune.
Sloan also claimed he and Shatner met in 1984 on the set of the TV show “T.J. Hooker” and the actor admitted he was the father. Weeks later, Sloan said, he was informed first by Shatner and then one of the actor’s representatives — both through phone calls — that they would publicly deny paternity because admitting it would be a bad career move.
The only explanation Sloan had for how Shatner and his mother knew each other was their appearance on Canada’s version of “Howdy Doody,” but he didn’t know they were in the cast of the same episode.
“This is more proof that my mother’s story was correct,” Sloan said Thursday. “But I didn’t need this for proof. I have always known.”
Sloan said Burt told him another man she also had relations with might he his father, but the timing of her pregnancy led her to believe it was Shatner.
Sloan’s story has generated international attention because of Shatner’s popularity, including coverage of the lawsuit this week with Sloan’s appearance on the celebrity gossip show TMZ and ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America.”
Sloan rejects some of the story lines presented — that a 59-year-old man has filed a paternity suit against the famous actor.
“It is exactly what it appears to be on its face, which is libel, defamation, tortious; interference, and slander,” Sloan said. “I can’t necessarily control how the press is portraying this.”
The suit says the actor’s representatives have trashed him since the Tribune first told his story publicly in May 2015.