POLITICS & ELECTIONS

George Santos sues late-night host Jimmy Kimmel for tricking him into making videos to ridicule him

Feb 18, 2024, 10:04 AM

FILE - Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves the Capitol after being expelled from the House of Repres...

FILE - Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves the Capitol after being expelled from the House of Representatives, Dec. 1, 2023, in Washington. Santos alleged in a lawsuit in New York, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, that late-night host Jimmy Kimmel deceived him into making videos on the Cameo app that were used to ridicule the disgraced lawmaker on the show. (Stephanie Scarbrough, Associated Press)

(Stephanie Scarbrough, Associated Press)

NEW YORK (AP) — 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.

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.

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

Through Cameo, Santos received requests from individuals and businesses seeking personalized video messages. Unbeknownst to Santos, 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, Santos offers congratulations to the purported winner of a beef-eating contest, calling the feat of consuming 6 pounds (2.7 kilograms) 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 Santos, said in an email.

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.

Santos pleaded not guilty to a revised indictment in October.

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

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George Santos sues late-night host Jimmy Kimmel for tricking him into making videos to ridicule him