In a story that summarises why Americans are stereotyped as people who sue at any chance they get, Frank Sivero, who portrayed Frankie Carbone in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 classic “Goodfellas,” has decided to sue 20th Century Fox and “The Simpsons.” Why would Sivero be doing this? According to his attorneys’ 12 page complaint, “The Simpsons continued use of Sivero’s image and likeness for commercial purposes are all done without Sivero’s consent and without compensation. Over the years, Sivero was told by Gracie Films that, “he [Sivero] would be part of the future” in connection to the success of “The Simpsons.” He was promised that they would make a film together; but it never happened.
Now while it sounds like there was some dialogue between Sivero and Groening many years ago, at least according to Sivero’s attorneys, many are asking if this is grounds for a lawsuit or if it is a simple case of Hollywood’s long standing tradition of leaving people in the dust at the drop of a hat. Regardless of if the case has legs to stand on or not, it is almost universally seen as a complete mockery of the justice system and a huge waste of time considering the amount that Sivero is claiming he is due in damages. That number? 250 million dollars. That is how much Sivero is hoping to get out of 20th Century Fox due to claimed “damages for loss of his likeness,” improper appropriation of Plaintiff’s confidential idea” as well as 100 million dollars for “improper interference” in which Sivero claims a loss of prospective economic advantage and “type-casting” claiming that he cannot get a part that is not involved with the mafia due to “The Simpsons’” character Frankie Carbone.
This case rings similar to a former suit that Lindsay Lohan brought against Rockstar Studios, the creators of “Grand Theft Auto V,” in which Lohan claimed that a character in the game appeared to be taken from her likeness and without her consent. That suit was later dropped, but made waves throughout the world, causing Lohan’s popularity to again soar. Many believe that this case will suffer roughly the same fate, but it is too early to gauge the seriousness and validity of these allegations until Fox or “The Simpsons” producers choose to comment, which has not yet occurred.