ABC Asks Federal Court to Dismiss George Santos-Jimmy Kimmel Suit

Jimmy Kimmel, ABC, and Disney have filed a joint motion to dismiss the lawsuit that former congressman George Santos brought against them earlier this year.

The suit stems from a series of Cameo videos that Kimmel commissioned from Santos and broadcast on his show in December. The videos, purchased for $500 a piece, saw Santos reading from outlandish scripts and were aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live! under the rubric of a feature Kimmel dubbed “Will Santos Say It?

Santos alleges that Kimmel’s on-air use of the videos violated the disgraced former representative’s copyright, and broke Cameo’s terms of service. 

In a 32-page motion filed Monday with the US Federal Court in the southern district of New York, Disney lawyers argue that the broadcast of Cameo videos purchased from Santos falls under the Fair Use provision of copyright law, which permits a party to use a copyrighted work without the copyright owner’s permission for purposes of commentary and criticism.

“This case presents a paradigmatic example of a protected fair use,” attorneys for Disney state in their motion. “Santos’ decision to exploit his public notoriety by joining Cameo, just three days after he was expelled from Congress for gross financial misconduct, generated an immediate wave of public discussion. Even before the television segments at issue here aired, the videos he began making available on his Cameo profile page were the subject of extensive public scrutiny, criticism, and mockery.”

“In this context,” the motion continues, Kimmel’s decision “to test whether, even after being expelled and indicted, there was anything Santos would decline to publicly say in exchange for a few hundred dollars” served as “a quintessential example of a fair use,” since he was using the videos “to comment on and mock a controversial political figure to a broad audience.”

It will fall to a federal judge to decide whether to dismiss the case. Neither Santos nor Kimmel have commented publicly on Disney’s motion to dismiss.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *