Ex-Rep. George Santos (R-Nassau/Queens) attended a primary election night party in...

Ex-Rep. George Santos (R-Nassau/Queens) attended a primary election night party in Nashua, New Hampshire on Jan. 23. Credit: AP / Matt Rourke

Disgraced Long Island congressman George Santos filed suit on Friday against late-night TV comedian Jimmy Kimmel for tricking him into reading joke messages on the celebrity app Cameo and then broadcasting the videos on Kimmel's show for laughs.

“Kimmel misrepresented himself and his motives to induce [Santos] to create personalized videos for the sole purpose of capitalizing on and ridiculing [Santos’s] gregarious personality,” according to the Manhattan federal court complaint.

Cameo is a platform where celebrities can be hired to create personalized birthday wishes, holiday greetings or motivational messages for anyone willing to pay for the service. The former congressman, who charges $350 per video, told CNN earlier this month that he has sold more than a thousand messages.

At least 14 of those messages have been paid for by the late-night host, who has made Santos the butt of jokes in his opening monologue on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" throughout the ex-congressman’s nearly yearlong time in office.

Not long after he was elected, misrepresentations and lies on Santos’ resume and campaign finance irregularities led to a federal indictment in Central Islip federal court for fraud and money laundering charges.

After Santos (R-Nassau/Queens) was ousted from Congress on Dec. 1, the show started a new segment called “Will Santos Say It?” featuring dummy Cameo messages that, unknown to the former representative, Kimmel paid him to say.

“George, please congratulate my friend Gary Fortuna for winning the Clearwater Florida beef-eating contest. He ate over six pounds of loose ground beef and under 30 minutes — which was a new record. He's not feeling great right now, but the doctor thinks he'll be released from the hospital soon. Please wish him a speedy recovery!” was the first message Santos responded to.

Other requests that he responded to included a congratulatory video regarding a cloned schnauzer named “Adolf,” a blind niece who passed her driver's test and a man who burned down a shed to scare away a bear.

The comedian continued to mock him on the show, inviting him to file suit against him.

“He claims he’s made more money in seven days than he did in Congress for a year. And part of that money came from me,” Kimmel said on a Dec. 11 broadcast. “Could you imagine if I get sued by George Santos for fraud? I mean how good would that be? It would be like a dream come true.”

Santos’s lawyer sent Kimmel a cease and desist letter on Dec. 12, demanding that he stop posting the videos, which he said were the former Republican representative’s intellectual property, according to the suit.

In addition to suing Kimmel, his network ABC and its parent company Disney for copyright infringement, Santos also claims that the show violated Cameo’s terms of service by using the personal videos for commercial purposes.
Kimmel, ABC and Disney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The bit has received 1.4 million views on YouTube and 1.6 million views on TikTok, according to the complaint.

Santos has demanded $150,000 for each infringement, as well as unspecified punitive damages.

The former congressman has requested the case be tried in a jury trial.

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months