George Santos Sues Late-Night Host Jimmy Kimmel for Tricking Him Into Making Videos to Ridicule Him

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
February 18, 2024Politics
George Santos Sues Late-Night Host Jimmy Kimmel for Tricking Him Into Making Videos to Ridicule Him
Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) is interviewed by FOX News in the rotunda of the Cannon House Office Building before a vote to expel him from the House of Representatives, in Washington, on Dec. 1, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

NEW YORK—Former U.S. Rep. George Santos alleged in a lawsuit filed Saturday that late-night host Jimmy Kimmel deceived him into making videos on the Cameo app that were used to ridicule the disgraced New York Republican on the show.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. district court for the southern district of New York names Kimmel, ABC, and Walt Disney Co. as defendants. A Disney representative listed as a media contact for the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show didn’t immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Mr. Santos, who was expelled from the House of Representatives last year after being charged with multiple counts of fraud and stealing from donors, is suing over alleged copyright infringement, fraudulent inducement, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment.

Mr. Kimmel misrepresented himself to induce Mr. Santos to create personalized videos “capitalizing on and ridiculing” his “gregarious personality,” the lawsuit alleges.

Through Cameo, Mr. Santos received requests from individuals and businesses seeking personalized video messages. Unbeknownst to Mr. Santos, Mr. Kimmel submitted at least 14 requests that used phony names and narratives, according to the complaint.

Starting in December the videos were played on a segment, “ Will Santos Say It? ” the suit says.

In one of the clips, Mr. Santos offers congratulations to the purported winner of a beef-eating contest, calling the feat of consuming 6 pounds of loose ground beef in under 30 minutes “amazing and impressive.”

“Frankly, Kimmel’s fake requests were funny, but what he did was clear violation of copyright law,” Robert Fantone, an attorney for Mr. Santos, said in an email.

Mr. Santos is seeking statutory damages totaling $750,000 for the five videos he created that were played on the show and various social media platforms. He also asks for other damages to be determined at trial.

The ex-lawmaker faces a slew of criminal charges, including allegations that he defrauded campaign donors, lied to Congress about his wealth, received unemployment benefits while employed and used campaign contributions to pay for personal expenses like designer clothing. He also is alleged to have made unauthorized charges on credit cards belonging to some of his donors.

Mr. Santos pleaded not guilty to a revised indictment in October.

On Tuesday, Democrat Tom Suozzi won a special election for Mr. Santos’ former seat.

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