It sounds like the opening to one of his own jokes: Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel is being sued by an orthodox Jewish man known as “The Flying Rabbi.”
Dovid Sondik, who The New York Post says is actually not a rabbi (and probably can’t fly), is suing Kimmel and ABC, for using his likeness without permission in a bit meant to spoof LeBron James meeting with rabbi-to-the-stars Yishayahu Yosef Pinto for business advice.
Sondik is featured in a YouTube video ranting in Yiddish on the street. In an August bit, “Jimmy Kimmel Live” used clips from the video to make it appear as if the host was getting curbside advice from the man.
“See, now it makes sense, LeBron went to Miami to become Jewish,” Kimmel joked as he set up the spoof.
“Apparently, [Pinto is] a very high-paid consultant when it comes to business matters. One time, I actually consulted with the rabbi myself.”
At this point, Sondik was seen jabbering in Yiddish as if through a car window. Kimmel pretends to listen to the incoherent advice then ends with him joking, “You know, it turned out he was right.”
Sondik’s lawyer, Robert Tolchin, said his client was just “goofing around” and never intended the video to be broadcast to Kimmel’s viewers.
“It has caused me difficulty and pain,” said Sondik, who, speaks of scripture to people in the neighborhood. “Now they think I’m a joke, a comedian.”
The suit accuses Kimmel and the network of appropriation of likeness and violating YouTube’s service terms and seeks unspecified damages.
ABC and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” have yet to respond.