Tuesday, September 22, 2015
A Brooklyn appeals court has grounded the "Flying Rabbi's" lawsuit against late night host Jimmy Kimmel.
Daniel Sondik — a Borough Park resident better known as YouTube's "Flying Rabbi" — said the funnyman used clips of him without his permission in a bit on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" in 2010.
A takeoff of a meeting Lebron James had with celebrity rabbi Yishayahu Pinto, the clip showed Kimmel getting advice in Yiddish from Sondik, an enthusiastic street preacher who's not actually a rabbi.
The footage of Sondik was edited in from a YouTube video.
Sondik said that wasn’t kosher — and sued Kimmel for using his image without his permission and profiting from it.
A Brooklyn judge tossed his suit out in 2011, finding the use of the YouTube video wasn't a “commercial use.”
Justice David Schmidt also found the clip “was used as part of a comedic (or at least an attempted comedic) or satiric parody of Lebron James meeting with Rabbi Pinto, itself undoubtedly an event that was newsworthy or of public interest,” and noted that Pinto and Sondik look nothing alike.
Sondik appealed, but in a ruling last week, the state Appellate Division sided with Kimmel.
The ruling, which was first reported by the New York Law Journal, found “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.”
“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, calling his client “a sweet, earnest guy.”
“This was deeply hurtful to him,” Tolchin said, adding they’re weighing their legal options.
“It’s a really sleazy thing they did,” the lawyer said.
“Jimmy Fallon is funnier.”
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