LOS ANGELES (CN) — Actor-director Vincent Gallo sued Facebook for refusing to remove an imposter’s Vincent.Gallo account, though he’s told it the imposter is sending nude photos and sexual messages to women.
In his May 16 federal lawsuit, Gallo says he limits interviews and guards his media exposure to protect his privacy and has never had a social media account.
He says he learned of the bogus account early this year from friends, including a former girlfriend, “who happens to be a well known international model.”
Gallo says his ex and the imposter “had Facebook messenger conversations for a period of two months, where Doe 1 flirted, sent nude pictures from the waist down, and convinced her not only to send nude pictures back, but to travel from Europe to the United States to visit him. Once she solidified her plans to visit him, Doe 1 (the fake account proprietor) backed down and gave an excuse that he would be out of town during her planned visit. At this time, she sensed something was wrong and discovered, to her horror and embarrassment, that Doe 1 was in fact, not Mr. Gallo.” (Parentheses in complaint.)
Gallo says the imposter is not running a tribute or fan page, but a fraudulent account with more than 3,000 friends. He claims the imposter has lured women to meet him in Los Angeles, and “repeatedly engages females to have conversations that are sexual in nature, while pretending to be Mr. Gallo.”
The false posts are ruining his reputation, Gallo says, with the sexual improprieties, comments about drugs, Israel and the Gaza Strip, links to musical performances with critical comments, and threats.
When Gallo asked Facebook to take down the imposter account and sent a scanned copy of his driver’s license to prove his identity, Facebook told him it could not verify it and told him to send a new photo, which he did. He says he told Facebook about the nude photos and that the fake account was destroying his reputation, but Facebook refuses to remove it — and is making money from it.
Facebook made $3.3 billion in the first quarter of 2016, $3 billion of it from ads on pages people visit, so Facebook makes money each time one of the imposter’s 3,000 friends views his page, Gallo says.
He seeks punitive damages for Lanham Act violations, publicity violations, computer crimes, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and unfair business practices.
Facebook did not respond to emailed requests for comment Tuesday.
Gallo is represented by Joseph Costa with Costa, Besser & Childress of Pacific Palisades, who did not return an emailed request for comment.
Gallo has 40 film credits to his name, including a minor role in “Goodfellas.” He made his directorial debut in 1998 with “Buffalo ’66,” which was nominated for best new feature at the Independent Spirit Awards.
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