In 1995, Jonathan Schmitz was invited on to The Jenny Jones Show after producers informed him he had a secret admirer who wanted to come forward.
When the talk show began in 1991, the format was akin to that of The Oprah Winfrey Show – one of the highest-rated daytime talk shows in history. But low ratings for Jenny Jones led to a reconfiguration of her content, and by 1993, it steered away from any sliver of highbrow content and went in the direction of tabloid topics.
Inspired by the likes of Jerry Springer and Maury Povich, The Jenny Jones Show specialised in segments on secrets and scandals, dramas and disputes. Paternity tests, affairs with best friends and disobedient teenagers were just some of the segments that viewers tuned in for. Their entire format would rely on exploiting individuals who would share with the world their deeply personal matters.
On March 6, 1995, Jenny Jones arrived for work, ready to tape an episode entitled ‘Same-Sex Secret Crushes’. The episode would never go to air, due to the devastating fallout that would prevail.
Jonathan Schmitz was waiting in the green room, unable to hear anything being said on stage.
Unbeknownst to him, a man he knew through a mutual connection, Scott Amedure, was standing on stage with Jones. In front of an audience, he expressed his sexual fantasies involving Jonathan.