Evel Knievel Sues Kanye West
Wed, 13 Dec 2006 08:35:29
Legendary daredevil Evel Knievel has served Kanye West with a lawsuit for trademark infringement, claiming that the rapper's "Touch the Sky" video is having disastrous effects on Knievel's family-friendly image. In the video, West plays "Evel Kanyevel" and recreates Knievel's famed (and failed) Snake River Canyon jump while adding a few bits of his own flair, like a marching band and a romance with Pamela Anderson.
"He's just a disgrace to me," said the 68-year-old Knievel. "What a cheap shot. What a cheap, two-bit shot... That video that Kanye West put out is the most worthless piece of crap I've ever seen in my life, and he uses my image to catapult himself on the public."
Kanye, of course, was a rather prominent public figure well before he donned a Knievel-like jumpsuit and tried to hop a canyon in a video. West and his lawyers did not issue an immediate comment, but Knievel's attorney, Richard Fee, fired some preemptive shots at West's defense team, saying that the video couldn't be defended as a parody -- a classification that would probably make it exempt from any trademark violations.
"A parody is something that's characterized by comedic content and that video is not a comedy," Fee said. "It's a music video used to sell Mr. West's musical works."
The lawsuit seeks unspecified financial damages and demands that the video -- still available on director Chris Milk's website, among others -- be pulled from distribution. Citing recent results on AOL's search engine, in which "Touch the Sky" was the second result listed for "Evel Knievel," the lawsuit says that the video "harms the reputation of the Evel Knievel Trademark and the Evel Knievel Costume." Knievel-related toys and products have grossed over $300 million to date.
"The guy just went too far using me to promote his filth to the world," said Knievel.
--The ARTISTdirect Staff