ABC issues pseudo-retraction about Brooks Ayers “deadbeat dad” 20/20 episode

Brooks Ayers and Vicki Gunvalson making a funny face

Brooks Ayers, the possibly former boyfriend of The Real Housewives Of Orange County‘s Vicki Gunvalson, was featured in an episode of 20/20 in which he was accused by his child’s mother, Nicolette Catanzarite, of leaving her with unpaid medical bills and neglecting to pay her child support for their three-year-old, who she claimed Brooks no longer sees.

After the episode aired, Brooks quickly hired a top attorney to fight back against the newscast, claiming they made “numerous defamatory statements” about him and demanding a retraction — or else he’d sue. On July 11, Brooks spoke out, saying, “ABC never gave me a reasonable opportunity to tell my side, and therefore the story, which is based on an interview with an ex-girlfriend, contains many mistakes. I am outraged that ABC should behave in this manner.”

Brooks Ayers and his baby mama Nicolette Catanzarite
^ Brooks Ayers and Nicolette Catanzarite

Brooks stated back in July that he would give ABC one more chance to retract the statements made during the episode, and while they did nothing for months, the network has finally come to an agreement with him.

Earlier today, ABC issued a statement regarding the episode which read:

This is a follow-up to a 20/20 report broadcast June 29, 2012 concerning Brooks Ayers of “Real Housewives of Orange County.”

The report said, among other things, that Ayers had left his former girlfriend Nicolette Catanzarite with unpaid medical bills relating to the birth of their son Joey in December 2008, that Ayers had not visited or communicated with Joey since he was 5 or 6 months old, and that Catanzarite had been unable to locate Ayers until he was first referred to on “Real Housewives” in 2011.

We want to clarify that Ayers’ insurance paid for most of Joey’s medical expenses arising from the birth, although not Catanzarite’s; that Ayers provided rent money and certain other expenses to Catanzarite for a time after Joey was born; and that Ayers saw Joey a number of times after their break-up in May 2009, the last being July or August 2010 when Joey was 19 or 20 months old. We also wanted to clarify that Ayers and Catanzarite have communicated periodically since that time, and that when Catanzarite was in California in January 2012, she met with Ayers and his girlfriend.

In a statement to ABC, Ayers says that he “hopes to resolve his disputes with Nicolette soon.”

It’s isn’t exactly an apology, and it doesn’t make Brooks look all that much better. He still hasn’t seen his son in over a year. and it doesn’t sound like he’s paying child support either — but I guess it’s better than nothing.

Vicki and Brooks reportedly split last month shortly after cheating accusations regarding Vicki had surfaced.