Jews for Jesus, which likes the First Amendment only some of the time, has been sued (subscription required) by Jew-for-laughs Jackie Mason, who didn’t appreciate their use of his name and persona in a pamphlet — they self-righteously call them “tracts” — promoting their deceptive brand of missionizing:
“While I have the utmost respect for people who practice the Christian faith, the fact is, as everyone knows, I am as Jewish as a matzo ball or kosher salami,” Mason said in documents filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.
Yes, a matzo ball or a kosher salami — that’s just how Jewish Jackie is. And for Jackie, that’s Jewish enough to be ticked off!
The $2 million lawsuit seeks the immediate destruction of the pamphlets, which Jews for Jesus members have been handing out at various points around New York City. The pamphlets feature an image of Mason next to the words “Jackie Mason … A Jew for Jesus!?” with information inside that outlines the similarities between Jews and Christians.
“The pamphlet uses my name, my likeness, my ‘shtick’ (if you will), and my very act, which is derived from my personality, to attract attention and converts,” Mason said in an affidavit.
The group has been using these “tracts,” bearing Jewish celebrities’ likenesses on them, for years. They even used to be available on the Jews for Jesus website, but they’ve wisely taken them down, it appears. During my litigation with them, they were utilizing Jerry Seinfeld and Howard Stern the same way they’re using Jackie Mason now. I took the liberty of asking the office of each performer what they thought of that. Neither one cared, just as the Third Circuit didn’t (no real reason they should have on that score) and the Electronic Freedom Foundation didn’t (for that I have not forgiven them) and I moved on.
I give him points for caring more about what’s done in his name as a tummler then the generation of Jewish jesters behind him (Stern actually isn’t Jewish, thank God). He can come to my house for a Shabbos meal any Friday night he’s not working the Big Room.
Incidentally, Jackie Mason’s claim is, by all appearances, for infringement of his right of publicity, perhaps also some form of Lanham Act claim. Because he filed in state court, I can’t readily get the complaint as I could in a federal case. If J4J removes to federal court, though, we’ll be all over it.
Thanks to Eric Goldman (and others less public) for emailing me the story!
UPDATE: Settled, “sorry,” so long!
3 Replies to “Jew for Jocularity v. Jews for Jesus”
Another possible issue is that of parody. Jews for Jesus cannot claim that, of course, but the (non-existant) Jews for Zeus (JewsForZeus.blogspot.com) probably has a valid claim. At least Jackie will probably have a laugh before he sues us. 😉
Jackie I wouldn’t want to mess me. But let me know when you hear from my old friend David Brickner… which should be sometime by lunch on Tuesday.
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