Ex-legislator George Santos sues late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel over videos

18 February 2024, 19:44

Jimmy Kimmel
George Santos Jimmy Kimmel Lawsuit. Picture: PA

A lawsuit accuses Kimmel of misrepresenting himself to induce Santos to create videos ‘capitalising on and ridiculing’ his ‘gregarious personality’.

Former US House of Representatives member George Santos has accused late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel of deceiving him into making videos that were used to ridicule him.

A lawsuit filed in US district court for the southern district of New York on behalf of the disgraced New York Republican names Kimmel, ABC and Walt Disney Co as defendants.

Santos, who was expelled from the House 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 personalised videos “capitalising on and ridiculing” his “gregarious personality”, the lawsuit alleges.

George Santos
George Santos (Stephanie Scarbrough/AP)

Santos received requests from individuals and businesses seeking personalised messages on the Cameo video app, and Kimmel submitted at least 14 requests using phony names and narratives, according to the complaint.

The videos were played on a segment called Will Santos Say It? on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show, 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 6lb of loose ground beef in less than 30 minutes “amazing and impressive”.

“Frankly, Kimmel’s fake requests were funny, but what he did was clear violation of copyright law,” said Robert Fantone, a lawyer for Santos.

Santos is seeking statutory damages totalling 750,000 dollars (£595,000) for the five videos he created that were played on the show and various social media platforms. He is also asking for other damages to be determined at trial.

The ex-legislator faces a range 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 unauthorised charges on credit cards belonging to some of his donors.

He pleaded not guilty to a revised indictment in October.

By Press Association

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