‘Flying Rabbi’ Loses Jimmy Kimmel Appeal

     (CN) – Late-night talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel did not invade the privacy of a man known on YouTube as “The Flying Rabbi,” a New York appeals court ruled.
     Daniel Edward Sondik, also known as Dovid Yehida Sondik, is the star of a number of videos on YouTube that depict the Borough Park preaching and gesticulating wildly in the streets of Brooklyn.
     Kimmel spliced some of that footage into an Aug. 11, 2010, episode of his ABC talk show to riff on news that basketball star LeBron James had consulted celebrity Rabbi Yishayashu Yosef Pinto for business advice.
     After claiming that he sought Rabbi Pinto’s advice as well, Kimmel cut to a video of him sitting in his car, listening to one of Sondik davening in ostensible jibberish.
     Sondik claimed in an ensuing lawsuit against “Jimmy Kimmel Live” that the comedian unwittingly “made him the butt of a joke” by splicing the YouTube footage into his material.
     Though Sondik claimed the clip made him a “laughingstock” in front of 1.5 million viewers, a Kings County Court judge dismissed the case , finding that the segment was an “expressive work” protected under the First Amendment.
     A four-judge panel of the Appellate Division’s Second Department in Brooklyn affirmed.
     “There was no public disclosure of private facts since the clip at issue had already been made public on YouTube, and nothing on the clip revealed anything offensive or objectionable about plaintiff,” the unsigned Sept. 16 order states.
     Sondik had alleged violations of California law, based on the fact that Kimmel’s team put the video clip together there, but the justices pointed out that Sondik’s “alleged injury occurred in New York, where he is domiciled and resides.”
     Finding that Sondik failed to make a case for invasion of privacy, the justices added that “the video footage in which the plaintiff’s voice, picture and likeness were appeared was not used for advertising or trade purposes.”
     Sondik’s lawyer, Robert Tolchin, voiced disappointment in the ruling.
     “You take a guy who’s a little eccentric and you make a joke out of him,” he told the New York Daily News.

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