George Santos Sues Jimmy Kimmel and Disney for Cameo Prank Fraud

The former New York congressman is seeking $750,000 from the late-night host

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Former Republican Rep. George Santos has filed a lawsuit against late-night host Jimmy Kimmel and Disney, the parent company of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” home ABC, for fraud and copyright infringement after Kimmel paid $400 each for a series of Cameo videos from Santos for fake people. It doesn’t appear that he appreciates a joke at his expense.

In documents filed Saturday in New York and obtained by TheWrap, Santos insisted, “At the heart of this dispute lies the deliberate deception and wrongful appropriation of the Plaintiff’s digital content by the Defendants, orchestrated through the platform Cameo.com, where celebrities and public figures are meant to connect with their fans through personalized video messages.”

On Dec. 6, Kimmel, under the name “Chris Cates,” paid $400 for a video of Santos congratulating a fictitious friend for winning the Clearwater Florida Beef Eating Contest. Later that day, Kimmel paid another $400 for a video of Santos congratulating an invented mom for cloning “beloved schnauzer Adolf.”

The next day, Kimmel paid another $400 for a video of Santos congratulating a blind girl for getting her driver’s license. The request noted, “That said, the day after she got her license, she got in a really bad car accident so if you could also wish her a speedy recovery that would be amazing. She’s in a bodycast and is a very bummed out – but with help from Jesus and President Trump, soon she will be back on the road!”

In the lawsuit, Santos accused Kimmel of creating at least 14 false requests.

Kimmel admitted to the gag that night on his show, when he told the audience, “I couldn’t resist. So, I sent George through Cameo a number of different ridiculous requests. I’ll be parceling these out over the next week. I didn’t say these were from me. I just wrote them and sent to find out, will Santos say it?”

Santos, who has sued Kimmel specifically for $750,000, noted this admission in his filing. The documents read, “Defendants openly admitted to deceiving the Plaintiff under the guise of fandom, soliciting personalized videos only to then broadcast these on national television and across social media channels for commercial gain — actions that starkly violate the original agreement and constitute clear copyright infringement.”

Additionally, “Defendant Kimmel misrepresented himself and his motives to induce Plaintiff to create personalized videos for the sole purpose of capitalizing on and ridiculing Plaintiff’s gregarious personality.”

Santos and his lawyers claim that the Cameo terms of service do not allow the videos to be played on TV. The former congressman ultimately “seeks to address and rectify the unauthorized use of his copyrighted material, the deceitful tactics employed by the Defendants in obtaining said material, and the subsequent commercial exploitation of his persona and work.”

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