The billionaire Apple Computer co-founder has retracted and apologized for a Monday night email to his Facebook support group in which he accused Dancing with the Stars' producers of potentially manipulating home viewer voting results to attract more viewers.
"We know how easy it is to espouse a lot of ideas and build conspiracy theory. No conspiracy theory can be proven wrong, so there are always plenty of die-hard followers," Wozniak wrote in a Tuesday night posting to his Facebook group. "I have been around the Internet conspiracy theory forums for too long."
"Yesterday I wrote my suspicions of the secret Dancing with the Stars audience vote tabulations. I wrote that the producers were liars, simply because I truly believed in that possibility, not because I had a shred of evidence," Wozniak said in the message, which he wrote just before Dancing with the Stars' Tuesday night results show began.
"I hurt a lot of honest people. Today, a storm kicked up over my allegations. I started my apologies but it has to go further than that."
In his since-removed Monday night posting, Wozniak -- who offered no specific details to support his allegations -- seemed to be of the belief that although he had finished dead last in the judges' scoring for his first two Dancing with the Stars performances, his home viewer support was strong that the only way he could possibly end up in last night's bottom two was if the show'sproducers manipulated the voting results.
"The producers play games to get viewers and don't disclose the numbers," Wozniak wrote in his Monday posting, according to CNet's news.com. "If they disclosed the numbers, it would be less of a game, but still suspect. If tomorrow, they claim I'm in the bottom 2 dance teams, including viewer votes, I believe that it's an outright lie."
Wozniak also apparently felt that he was so popular with home viewers that his participation in last night's "Dance Off" -- the first in Dancing with the Stars' history -- would be a huge boom for the broadcast's ratings.
"I'm sure they want me in this dance-off to get higher Tuesday ratings, and they have preplanned it so that I win," he wrote, according to news.com.
However Wozniak forsaw one potential monkey wrench in the producers' plan: the foot fracture he recently suffered.
"If my leg acts up tomorrow, they will either have to announce another pair as being the lowest or send me home, and I don't think they will give me up," he added.
Wozniak went on to write that he had even repeatedly voiced his belief that producer manipulation was the only way he could end up in the Tuesday night "Dance Off" -- which he partner Karina Smirnoff did end up participating in against singer Belinda Carlisle and her partner Jonathan Roberts -- during interview segments he had recorded on Monday.
"I called it fake about 20 times today on camera, each time in the same sentence as whatever comment they wanted about doing a dance-off tomorrow," he wrote, according to news.com. "That way, they couldn't edit it easily to say what they wanted. They kept trying to get me to say what I'd do if I was in the dance-off without using the word fake."
In addition, Wozniak warned viewers that what they might see in his Tuesday night video package might not be entirely accurate.
"They will have some small video tomorrow of me saying things that I strongly told them I don't believe," he wrote, according to news.com. "They will also shoot me in a one-hour rehearsal tomorrow with my partner, but I'll keep calling the idea of my being in the bottom 2, after audience participation, a lie."
Wozniak and Smirnoff subsequently survived the "Dance Off" and Carlisle and Roberts were the first eighth-season couple eliminated from the competition.
In his apology and retraction, Wozniak wrote that he spoke with "top people" at Dancing with the Stars -- the "ones responsible for counting audience votes and keeping them honest" -- and was told there were no shenanigans taking place.
"[They] told me all the specific details of where their numbers came from. More than that, they explained how they can catch onto various forms of manipulation of the system by exactly the methods I had thought out in my head that would work," he explained.
"I was offered an opportunity to see the equipment they use also. You can tell when things are extremely on the level. You can also see why the exact totals cannot be released. That would make it harder to detect fraud. One main way that they detect fraud is when the phone-in votes and text votes and Internet votes don't follow each other, percentage-wise. There are other things they look for as well that IT experts would detect as signals of something wrong."
In addition, Wozniak wrote he felt "so horrible inside" about the way his accusations made Dancing with the Stars executive producer Conrad Green feel.
"[Green] told me how horribly what I had said injured the show and himself," wrote Wozniak. "You can tell when someone is speaking in a way that they can't possibly be a liar or trying to deceive you the least bit. Conrad and the other producers are not liars. They are extremely honest people in my mind. And nobody could get me to write this if I didn't believe it myself. In this case they are certainly more honorable and honest than myself."
Wozniak concluded by explaining his conspiracy theory on the fact that "emotions wind up getting very high on a show like this."
"I was around some swarming emotions yesterday. Now I feel like a heel who stuck his shoe in his mouth, no puns intended. I have done it before and been on the other end of it as well, and it's not nice either way," he wrote.
"My last hope is that you can see inside of me and know that I am telling the truth from the bottom of my heart, and forgive the loudmouth emotional notes I wrote earlier. I'm on to have fun with the show now, and you may see me dance in minutes."
(Photo credit ABC)
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