The disgraced ex-lawmaker George Santos says Jimmy Kimmel shortchanged him by more than $20,000 when he clandestinely requested Cameo videos that were later aired on late-night television without his permission last week, and now he wants the comedian to pay up.
Kimmel revealed his new segment, titled “Will Santos say it,” on his Thursday night show—playing clips of Santos addressing bizarre requests he and his staff made using pseudonyms, including one where Santos was asked to congratulate a “Gary Fortuna” on winning a beef-eating contest in Florida.
Santos, who has a long history of making false claims, told The Spectator World this week that Kimmel’s stunt may have violated Cameo’s terms of service, adding that he plans to take the comedian to court if he doesn’t shell out for the clips’ much-higher business rate—since they weren’t requested for personal use.
Specifically, Santos says his total invoice to Kimmel—not including the $2,000 already paid for the four videos—is “$21,800 and change.” That amount accounts for the videos and a “50 percent business rush rate,” The Spectator reported.
Santos claims that bill could potentially climb by tens of thousands if Kimmel, who assured viewers last week that he has more “Will Santos say it” clips on the way, continues to air videos of him that were meant for personal use.
For his part in the ordeal, Kimmel, who has hosted Jimmy Kimmel Live! for 21 seasons on ABC, appeared to blow off Santos’ threat in a statement to The Spectator.
“The idea that Mr. Santos would claim we shortchanged him and used credit card purchases improperly proves once and for all that the man is a comedy genius,” he said, according to The Spectator.
Santos was expelled from Congress earlier this month, about a year after reports exposed that much of his public persona, including his published campaign biography, was a total lie. Santos is also staring down years behind bars on fraud charges that include accusations he sneakily charged donors’ credit cards without their authorization.
Despite being characterized by Kimmel and others as someone who’d do anything for money, Santos told The Spectator that he’s already rejected hundred of Cameo requests because they didn’t align with his “guiding compass.”
The Spectator reported that Santos said he wouldn’t say “pro-Osama bin Laden stuff,” noting that he “lived through 9/11 as a New Yorker, and it’s not gonna happen, never.” He also said he’d never spew an ounce of antisemitism” because of “the background I have.”
Santos repeatedly said that he was Jewish on the campaign trail—but later attempted to walk back the claims by saying he was simply “Jew-ish.”
He also claimed that his mother was killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, another falsehood.
Following his expulsion, Santos has leaned into his persona as a seemingly habitual liar, and claims he’s pumped out hundreds of Cameo requests. He said those videos, which now cost $500 a pop, have made him $350,000 in revenue.
“He’s having fun at my expense,” Santos said of Kimmel, “but I’m laughing all the way to the bank.”
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