Nearly four months after Harry Shearer went solo against Vivendi for $125 million profits for This Is Spinal Tap, The Simpsons voice actor has been joined by his co-creators of the beloved and much-cited 1984 mockumentary – and they want $400 million from the French media conglomerate.
In an amended complaint filed late Tuesday in federal court, co-stars Christopher Guest and Michael McKean, director Rob Reiner plus their mutually owned Spinal Tap Productions have plugged into the fraud and breach of contract lawsuit. The addition of the actors, helmer and their now-dissolved joint venture — which was supposed to see almost half of net receipts from the pic under a 1982 agreement — cuts Vivdeni’s stance that Shearer lacked proper standing in his suit of October 17, 2016. And now the band is all back together.
“Their participation will help demonstrate the opaque and misleading conduct at the heart of this case,” Shearer said in an statement about Guest, McKean and Reiner coming on board. “We’re even louder now.” As Shearer did by himself before, the group is calling out Vivendi for what it says is millions and million they were scammed out of from the $2.25 million-budgeted Spinal Tap — $400 million and perhaps more to be specific.
“Vivendi, Canal and Universal Music Group have abused the corporate form to defraud Plaintiffs by, inter alia, engaging in anti-competitive and unfair cross-collateralization between Vivendi subsidiaries; cross-collateralizing unsuccessful films bundled with TIST in their accounting; failing to remit accounting statements; failing to respond to enquiries and information requests,” says the new 22-page plus exhibits filing (read it here), in language similar to Shearer’s initial complaint of last October. The latest paperwork from the full band, so to speak, also slams nearly 30-year Spinal Tap rights-holder Vivendi for “failing to keep accurate records; failing to include revenues in accounting statements; claiming undocumented and false expenses as part of a fraudulent scheme to deprive Plaintiffs of their contractual rights; and failing to diligently exploit available revenue streams.”
Vivendi did not respond to request for comment today on the amended complaint. However, Shearer took to social media to make sure the Paris-based company would smell the now-enlarged legal glove, to paraphrase a fiction album by the fictional heavy metal band:
Guest, McKean and Reiner have also joined with Peter Haviland and Scott Humphreys of L.A.’s Ballard Spaht LLP, who represented Shearer in the original suit last year. Haviland and Humphreys colleague Tanya Taylor is also repping the combined plaintiffs in the case.