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Thursday, June 20, 2024 | Back issues
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Jimmy Kimmel Shakes Off Privacy Lawsuit

BROOKLYN (CN) - Jimmy Kimmel will not have to face a lawsuit from a Brooklyn man who claimed one of the talk show host's sketches doctored a video to turn him into a "laughingstock," a judge ruled in Kings County Court.

Daniel Sondik sued Kimmel a year ago, claiming Kimmel had spliced his image onto the face of Rabbi Yishayahu Yosef Pinto in a mock business meeting with basketball star Lebron James. The video was broadcast on Kimmel's Aug. 11, 2010 show.

Sondik sued on Dec. 9, 2010, stating, "Jimmy Kimmel told the audience that basketball star LeBron James had met with Rabbi Yishayahu Yosef Pinto for business advice, and then told the audience that he himself had met with Rabbi Pinto for business advice."

A Kings County judge described the video in an unsigned ruling dismissing the complaint: "Viewing the segment in its entirety, it is apparent that the piece primarily makes fun of the idea that Lebron James was seeking business advice from a spiritual leader with whom he could not actually converse because Lebron James presumably only speaks English (or 'only not Hebrew' as stated by Kimmel), and it was reported that Rabbi Pinto only speaks Hebrew. In the clip, the shot of plaintiff was apparently filmed by a person seated inside a car and plaintiff is seen standing on the street, facing the open window of the car, davening and chanting in song or prayer in what is not in English. The shots of Kimmel show him seated in the car and are edited to make it appear that he was listening to plaintiff and Kimmel's responses imply that he understood plaintiff and accepted his advice."

Sondik was not amused, and said his image should not have been used without his consent.

But the judge ruled that the segment was an "expressive work" entitled to First Amendment protections."Notably, there was no intrusion into plaintiff's private affairs, given that the clip of plaintiff was filmed on a public street ... 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 ruling states.

Citing failure to "state a cause of action," the judge dismissed Sondik's case.

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