Jack Ass Sues Jackass: New Personal Favourite Wacky Wednesday!
Sometimes a story comes along that’s so outlandish that you simply can’t believe it could be true. That’s just what happened in late 2002 when a man from Montana decided that he needed to sue Viacom, Inc. He claimed that the MTV show Jackass and the subsequent movie defamed him. You see, this man, originally born and named Bob Craft, had decided in 1997 that he would legally change his name to”¦ Jack Ass.
Why Legal Name Change To Jack Ass?
He said that he changed his name to raise awareness about the problem and dangers associated with drinking and driving. His brother and one of his friends tragically died in a drunk driving accident. While that’s an honorable cause, taking on such an odd and unflattering name does not seem to be the best way to go about it.
The Lawsuit: Butt Your Honour….
The suit he filed claims that Viacom is “liable for injury to my reputation that I have built and defamation of my character which I have worked so hard to create”. He sought $10 million in damages and decided that he would represent himself. After all, what else would someone who changed their name to Jack Ass do? He said that he was not able to find an attorney who would take his case. He said that some claimed they were too busy to help, others said they wouldn’t do it on contingency, and some said that they would look deeper into the case and get in touch, only to never call him back. Mr. Ass eventually represented himself.
Johnny Knoxville (AKA: P. J. Clapp) on the thought of being sued: “What could be more American than just suing the living shit out of someone for no reason at all?”
The Backside To This Story
The real reason that he sued was because he was creating informational websites about the dangers of drinking and driving, and the name Jack Ass was on those sites. He did not want the antics of the crew from the MTV show to overshadow the work he’d put into his efforts. Still, it seems as though it would be difficult for anyone to confuse the two for a number of reasons. In a twist of fate though, one of the cast members of Jackass actually died in a drunken driving accident in 2011.
Mr. Ass was disappointed. At the end of the trial, the court dismissed his case against Viacom.
Other Name Lawsuits
This is only one of the cases where people have sued over names. An American band named One Direction sued the British pop group that used the same name. The American band, even though they had the name first, was not able to keep their name. They settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. Another case you might be familiar with is the suit of Microsoft vs. MikeRoweSoft, a Canadian high school student.
Why are names so important? Names in today’s world are branding, and branding means money and recognition. You can be sure that there will be quite a few other lawsuits regarding names, defamation and the like over the coming years. People and companies are very defensive over their names. As the world becomes more interconnected through the web and social media, these types of cases are likely to become even more common. How long before someone who shares a name with another person on social media decides to sue for someone tarnishing their good name!
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