By Tim Kenneally
Jay Leno could probably find a lot of fodder for his monologue in this next story — if it didn’t have the potential to be a legal headache for him.
The “Tonight Show” host has been hit with a lawsuit by a woman who claims that she was falsely accused of bestiality during a segment of “Woulda, Coulda Shoulda” on the NBC late-night offering, Courthouse News Service reports.
In the complaint, filed in New York Supreme Court in Nassau County, former American Airlines flight attendant Louann Giambattista claims that a July 2013 episode of “The Tonight Show” picked up a story about her supposedly smuggling her pet rat onto work flights in her underwear and/or pantyhose. (Giambattista says that the story was the result of an alleged “relentless campaign of discrimination” by American Airlines.)
According to the suit, “Leno and his guests falsely accused Ms. Giambattista of engaging in sexual relations with a rat,” primarily via the comments made by the panelists on the “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda” segment.
Among the comments: “[If] I were one of those rats, I would’ve been very upset. I prefer not to sit in cooch.”
Since the segment aired, Giambattista claims she and her husband, Steven Goldring, have become “pariahs in their own community, among their long-standing group of friends, among their co-workers and even among family.”
Even worse, Giambattista and Goldring’s intimate life has suffered because, “Every time he looks at her he thinks of Defendant Leno and the heinous segment depicting her as a sexual deviant.”
A spokesman for “The Tonight Show,” which is also named in the suit along with NBC Universal Media, has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.
Giambattista, who’s also suing American Airlines in a separate complaint, is seeking unspecified damages.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.