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Santos initiates legal action against late-night host Jimmy Kimmel for manipulative video exploitation

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Former U.S. Representative George Santos has initiated legal proceedings against late-night television host Jimmy Kimmel, alleging that Kimmel deceived him into producing videos via the Cameo app, which were subsequently used to ridicule Santos on Kimmel’s show.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, lists Kimmel, ABC, and Walt Disney Co. as defendants. Despite attempts to reach a Disney representative for comment, there has been no immediate response to inquiries from The Associated Press.

Santos, who faced expulsion from the House of Representatives last year following multiple charges of fraud and misappropriation of funds from donors, is pursuing legal action on grounds of copyright infringement, fraudulent inducement, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment. According to the lawsuit, Kimmel misrepresented himself to Santos, persuading him to create personalized videos that were subsequently utilized to mock his personality on national television.

Utilizing the Cameo app, Santos received requests for personalized video messages from various individuals and entities. However, unbeknownst to him, Kimmel submitted numerous deceptive requests, employing fictitious names and scenarios. These videos, totaling at least 14, were then showcased in a segment titled “Will Santos Say It?” on Kimmel’s show, beginning in December.

The lawsuit highlights one instance where Santos is seen congratulating the supposed winner of a beef-eating competition, expressing admiration for the consumption of six pounds of ground beef within a half-hour timeframe. Despite the humorous nature of Kimmel’s fabricated requests, Robert Fantone, legal counsel for Santos, asserts that such actions constitute a blatant violation of copyright law.

Santos is seeking statutory damages amounting to $750,000 for the five videos showcased on the show and various social media platforms. Additionally, he is pursuing additional damages to be determined during trial proceedings. It’s important to note that Santos is currently facing a litany of criminal charges, including allegations of fraudulent activities, misuse of campaign funds, and unauthorized credit card charges. Despite pleading not guilty to a revised indictment in October, his former seat was recently filled by Democrat Tom Suozzi in a special election held on Tuesday.

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