George Santos sues Jimmy Kimmel in Cameo dispute

George Santos sues Jimmy Kimmel in Cameo dispute
Former Rep. George Santos is suing late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, alleging Kimmel deceptively purchased his Cameo videos with the intent of ridiculing him on his show. (Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Former Rep. George Santos made headlines following his expulsion from Congress when he took to Cameo to sell personalized video messages for $350 a pop. Now Santos is suing TV host Jimmy Kimmel for deceptively purchasing these videos to ridicule him on his show.

In a lawsuit filed Feb. 17 in the federal court for the Southern District of New York, Santos alleges “deliberate deception and wrongful appropriation” by Kimmel. Santos’ suit alleges copyright infringement, fraudulent inducement, breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

Efforts to reach press representatives for “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” for comment were unavailing.

The lawsuit alleges that Kimmel placed 14 Cameo requests from Santos that used fake names to make phony message requests.

The Cameo videos were then broadcast by Kimmel on his late-night talk show under a segment called “Will Santos Say It?” that began in December after Santos was expelled from Congress.

Video messages from Santos included a congratulatory statement for someone who consumed six pounds of loose ground beef in under 30 minutes and for the successful cloning of a Schnauzer dog named Adolf.

Overall, five Cameo videos from Santos were played on Kimmel’s late-night talk show.

Cameo is a website where individuals and businesses sell personalized video messages to fans who request a specific message. These personalized video messages can be purchased with prices ranging depending on who the Cameo is purchased from.

Santos states in the suit that the Cameo videos were purchased “under the guise of fandom” and Kimmel misrepresented himself with the purpose of “capitalizing on and ridiculing” the former congressman’s “gregarious personality.”

The lawsuit contends this was done for commercial gain and is an example of copyright infringement and violates original agreements.

Santos is seeking statutory damages of $750,000, and for additional damages to be determined in a trial.

The lawsuit was filed against Kimmel as well as ABC and the Walt Disney Company.

Santos was expelled from Congress on Dec. 1 after the House of Representatives voted him out of office after being subjected to scrutiny and ethics probes for lying to voters about himself. He now faces a federal indictment of 23 counts of wire fraud, money laundering and theft of public funds and was amid plea negotiations in December.

After a special election sparked by the removal of Santos from the House, former representative Tom Suozzi was elected Feb. 13 to finish Santos’ term in representing New York’s Third Congressional District.

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