Brooklyn Court Backs Jimmy Kimmel in ‘Flying Rabbi’ Lawsuit Appeal
A New York City court on Wednesday sided with late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel in an appeal on a previous lawsuit, the New York Law Journal reported.
The appeals court upheld the original dismissal of the suit, in 2011, by Brooklyn resident Dovid Sondik — known on YouTube as “The Flying Rabbi” — who claimed Kimmel used clips of his without permission for a comedy sketch featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2010.
The clip in question, which played up news that professional basketball player LeBron James was seeking advice from celebrity Rabbi Yishayahu Yosef Pinto, showed Kimmel getting advice in Yiddish from Sondik. According to Sondik, Kimmel spliced a YouTube video of him in order to create the skit — and he sued Kimmel for using his image without consent and profiting from it.
Sondik hoped to recover damages from Kimmel or ABC, the network behind his hit show.
The judge ruled that “the video footage in which the plaintiff’s voice, picture and likeness appeared was not used for advertising or trade purposes.”
Sondik’s lawyer, Robert Tolchin, called the ruling “unfortunate,” according to the New York Daily News. He said Sondik is “a sweet, earnest guy,” and that the ruling “was deeply hurtful” for his client. He added that they are considering their legal options.
“What happened here on a human level was not a fair thing — you take a guy who’s a little eccentric and make a joke out of him,” Tolchin said. “It’s a really sleazy thing they did.”