I was halfway through writing up my recap of last night's episode of "Entourage," when this news came over the wire. Johnny Devenanzio, known as "Johnny Bananas" on eight different MTV shows ("Real World" and seven different "Challenge" seasons), is threatening legal action against HBO. The reason: "Entourage" he says is infringing upon his property rights by portraying Johnny Drama as "Johnny Bananas" on an animated television show of the same name.
In a just-released statement, the original Johnny Bananas said:
I believe the HBO series 'Entourage,' and in particular, the cartoon ape they've seemed to create out of thin air who just so happens to go by the name Johnny Bananas, is in no way coincidental, and is instead an attempt to capitalize on the name recognition which I'm solely responsible for creating. I intend to fight vigorously in defense of the years of hard work and dedication i've spent making Johnny Bananas a household name, and the purpose of this lawsuit is aimed at protecting the integrity of my brand.
Here's the letter that was just sent to HBO's lawyers:
Dear Sir or Madam:
Please be advised that this office has been retained by Johnny Devenanzio (a/kJa Johnny Bananas), and this office, accordingly, represents him.
As you may know, our client, Johnny Devenanzio, has portrayed the character of Johnny Bananas on the "Real World" and "The Challenge" series over the past five years. Our client has appeared in eight MTV shows including The Real World Key West (2006), The Duel (2006), The Inferno 3 (2007), The Gauntlet 3 (2008), The Island (2008), The Ruins (2009), Cutthroat (2010), and Rivals (2011). He has spent significant time, effort and expense in marketing, developing and promoting his likeness, name, character and reputation, both on and off screen. In doing so, he has acquired distinctiveness and name recognition. He is recognized and known not only to the general public but also in the trades, media, and print communities as Johnny Bananas. Our client has been referred extensively in print media including newspapers and magazines and has been interviewed all under the name "Johnny Bananas".
It has come to our client's attention that you, your associates, and/or agents have been using the name "Johnny Bananas", "Johnny's Bananas" referring to and portraying Johnny Drama as Johnny Bananas in the HBO series, Entourage. In doing so, HBO inadvertently, intentionally or negligently has infringed upon our client's property rights, including but not limited to his right to privacy. Your such use of our client's name is likely to cause confusion in the mind of the public and wrongly associate our client with your activities. Accordingly our client, Johnny Devenanzio, will suffer harm and damage to the good will, reputation and image he has created and developed as "Johnny Bananas".
We would prefer to resolve this matter without the necessity of any formal proceedings. However, we are sure you can appreciate the importance which our client attaches to his name, reputation, and goodwill, resulting in a policy of taking whatever lawful steps appropriate under the laws and regulations to protect them. Please take notice that if you do not cease and desist, in any broadcast, publication, dissemination and/or portrayal and/or reference of "Johnny Bananas", you leave us little option but to seek judicial intervention.
We would appreciate your prompt attention to this matter, in order that any further confusion resulting in damage to our client is kept to a minimum. This letter, however, is without prejudice to our client's right to seek full redress for your unauthorized use of our client's name and/or likeness of name or portrayal, including damages, injunctive relief, and expenses in pursuing infringement litigation against you and your associates.
Please do not hesitate to contact our office, should you have any question regarding this matter.
What do you guys think of Johnny Bananas' claims? Sound Off in the Comments...