The Simpsons is enjoying a lot of buzz in this, its 26th season, thanks to a crossover episode with Family Guy (widely panned) and its annual “Treehouse of Horror” episode (widely praised, particularly its Stanley Kubrick parody.) But now the show is getting the sort of attention it probably doesn’t want. Actor Frank Sivero is suing Fox for using his likeness as Louie, one of Fat Tony’s sidekicks. The Goodfellas actor (he played Frankie Carbone in the Scorcese gangster drama) is demanding $250 million because “the long-long-running animated series has made $12 billion over the decades from TV, the big screen, video games, and other revenue streams,” and that producer James L. Brooks was “highly aware of who Sivero was, the fact that he created the role of Frankie Carbone, and that The Simpsons character Louie would be based on this character.”
According to Deadline, Silvero’s lawyers want “$50 million in damages for loss of his likeness, another $50 million in actual loss for ‘improper appropriation of Plaintiff’s confidential idea,’ $50 million more in exemplary damages, and $100 million for ‘improper interference.'” Should a cartoon be liable for parodying/appropriating a person’s likeness? I know several sweatpants-wearing nerds who look like the Comic Book Guy. Should they sue? Presumably the producers of the show are safe from legal action by Thomas Pynchon.