Jimmy Kimmel responds to George Santos: ‘the most preposterous lawsuit of all time’

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Earlier this week we discussed George Santos, former NY congressman and current Cameo presenter-for-hire, suing Jimmy Kimmel — for fraud! If that’s not the pot calling the kettle… Kimmel’s crime was paying Santos for his services. Well, he hid his identity and then broadcast the videos on his show, which Santos says is tantamount to copyright infringement, fraud, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment. Plus Kimmel took advantage of Santos’ “gregarious personality!” (I may never recover from that claim.) But with $750,000 in damages on the line, the ABC & Disney lawyers have gotten to Kimmel to keep mum on the subject until the case is resolved. Just kidding!! Kimmel responded to Santos on his show this week, calling it “the most preposterous lawsuit of all time.”

Jimmy Kimmel is escalating his beef with former Republican New York Rep. George Santos.

“I am currently embroiled in what may be the most preposterous lawsuit of all time,” Kimmel said on Tuesday night’s episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” “George Santos, a man Republicans kicked out of Congress for being a fraud, is suing me for fraud.”

Santos, who was expelled from Congress last year for lying about his resume and using campaign funds for personal expenses, filed a lawsuit Saturday against Kimmel and ABC alleging that Kimmel used “deceitful tactics” after Kimmel paid Santos to record video messages and then played them on Kimmel’s show.

In December, Kimmel had a segment on his show called “Will Santos Say It,” where Kimmel used fake names to buy videos from Santos on the celebrity video platform Cameo. Kimmel had Santos read out absurd messages, like wishing a friend well after winning a beef eating contest.

Santos is suing Kimmel for copyright infringement, fraud, breach of contract and unjust enrichment and is seeking $750,000 in damages.

“Comedy is wonderful, until you violate someone’s rights, then you get sued,” Robert Fantone, an attorney at the law firm representing Santos, said in a statement to HuffPost on Saturday.

On Saturday, Santos wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he was upholding his “legal rights” with the lawsuit against Kimmel.

“If you don’t stand up for yourself you will always lose,” Santos wrote. “That’s what I’m doing with this lawsuit. I’m standing my ground and fighting to uphold my legal rights. Jimmy boy thought he could use fraudulent means to violate my copyrights and now he’s going to face the consequences. It’s really that simple. My legal case is unassailable, there’s no question I am in the right.”

[From HuffPost]

If you’re a nerd like me and are wondering how, exactly, Kimmel violated copyright laws, it may hinge on a very technical detail. When using fake names on Cameo, Kimmel officially paid for videos under a personal license instead of a commercial one. However, Kimmel is likely to get off the hook here thanks to a “fair use claim,” because Santos didn’t lose any money; Kimmel paid for each video, and the publicity from Kimmel probably led to more Cameo requests for Santos. (Is that a sad commentary on our culture? Sure, but legally irrelevant here!) As some of you noted previously, Kimmel’s ABC & Disney lawyers had to have been kept in the loop on his plans and signed off on them, feeling confident that they could successfully navigate any retaliation from Santos. Thanks for joining me on this mini copyright law tutorial, may you go forth and file suits competently.

Now to deal with this statement from Santos: “Jimmy boy thought he could use fraudulent means to violate my copyrights and now he’s going to face the consequences.” I’d be careful, Georgie boy. The constituents of NY-3 may start tweeting about a joke of a congressman using fraudulent means to violate their franchise, and if he’s really faced enough consequences for that.

Photos credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix, Getty and Avalon.red

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9 Responses to “Jimmy Kimmel responds to George Santos: ‘the most preposterous lawsuit of all time’”

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  1. Lolo86llf says:

    Either George Santos in on crack or his lawyer gave him inaccurate information. Santos has no case here. Kimmel owns the videos that he paid Santos to record for him. Kimmel does not need permission to broadcast those cameos. Good luck getting a penny from Kimmel.

  2. Kathleen says:

    Who pays for cameos from this guy? I mean, besides Kimmel? Like, who’d genuinely want them? I’m baffled. Or is everyone trolling him, just not as publicly as Kimmel? Is there no amount of fraud and dishonesty that can put everyone off a person? This guy didn’t even go down for anything political! I get that Republicans love to support their own just to stick it to the libs, but he is no political martyr, is he? Who still supports him?

  3. Nanea says:

    (not a US citizen, hence no idea about legal fine print *over there*)

    I don’t get the copyright claim. To me it looks similar to doing a voice-over job.

    GS records a text, written and provided by Kimmel or someone on his team. GS gets paid, done. The people who actually do the voice work for radio or TV ads don’t retain the copyright either for simply reading aloud the text an ad agency came up with.

    A small legal quibble could be to differentiate between personal and commercial use/licensing.

    Nothing worth $ 750,000 though.

    • Megan says:

      IP attorney: I’m guessing this probably has to do with cameo’s terms and conditions, but then the issue is actually between cameo and both parties independently.

      Without reading the T&C, it’s tough to say. Without a provision explicitly stating who owns the IP, then this would typically fall under a “work for hire” which would mean Kimmel owns the copyright(s). And also, generally to enforce a copyright it must be registered, and I can’t find a record of santos registering any of his videos.

  4. Bad Janet says:

    Narcissists are so exhausting, and so unoriginal. Welcome to the club, George.

  5. Chaine says:

    IDK if he has a legal claim or not but I frickin hate Jimmy Kimmel so I hope he does

    • Lucky Charm says:

      I don’t particularly care for Jimmy Kimmel, but I despise George Santos. So I’m hoping his lawsuit against Kimmel is thrown out.

  6. Mollie says:

    Oh my gosh, it’s going to be entertaining to watch Disney lawyers attack Santos .