is facing a $20 million lawsuit filed by his father who claims his son "ruined" his career by alleging that he suffered from mental health issues.
In legal documents obtained by ET, Thomas Knight Slater -- who goes by the name Michael Hawkins -- cited an interview where Slater "described his father as suffering from manic-depressive schizophrenia."
The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday, cites a December 2015 issue of the National Enquirer
as the source of Slater's comments. It appears the Enquirer
article sourced an interview from earlier that year, when the Mr. Robot star
had a candid sit-down with Interview magazine
and opened up about his father's mental health, as well as their late-in-life reconciliation.
"My father was an actor and my mother was his agent, so I had it on both sides, the crazy actor and his representation," Slater said in the July interview, recounting his exposure to the film industry at an early age.
Slater went on to say that his hadn't seen his father "in a few years," explaining, "He's a manic-depressive schizophrenic. He's always had trouble—he was a fantastic actor and extraordinarily charismatic and very, very good looking, but he had a really difficult time working with directors, collaborating with people. And that made his life very challenging."
According to the suit filed by Hawkins, those comments "ruined his career in the stage, motion picture, and television industry, which he has never recovered from."
The suit also accused Hawkins' ex-wife, Mary Jo Slater, of slander and defamation of character, alleging that she got him "blacklisted in the show business community," and that "any hope of ever acting again has been dashed into pieces."
Hawkins appeared in a number of soap operas in the ‘70s, including As the World Turns and Ryan's Hope, as well as feature films.
The suit argues that Slater and his mother do not have "medical credential or the ability to diagnose manic-depressive schizophrenia, and even if that were the case, they would be bound not to disclose it to the general public."
Hawkins is seeking damages of "not less than" $20 million, and has requested a jury trial for the suit.
In a heartbreaking twist, Slater’s discussion with Interview magazine also included the revelation that the actor had recently started to reconcile with his father after almost a decade of estrangement.
"In the last few months my father actually reached out to me and wanted to reconcile and reconnect," he shared at the time. "I was very grateful to be able to communicate with him. From a tumultuous, back-and-forth relationship, we were able to begin to build a better bridge for the both of us."