Spinal Tap Star Sues for $125M

Harry Shearer says Vivendi is hiding his profits
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2016 10:27 AM CDT
Updated Oct 18, 2016 10:48 AM CDT
Spinal Tap Star Sues for $125M
Harry Shearer appears at the 2015 TEC Awards.   (Photo by Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP, File)

One of the makers of This Is Spinal Tap is suing entertainment group Vivendi, claiming the company is hiding millions from those who made the film possible. Harry Shearer—perhaps better known as the guy who voices dozens of Simpsons characters—co-created the 1984 film along with Rob Reiner, Michael McKean, and Christopher Guest and also co-wrote its soundtrack and starred as bassist Derek Smalls, reports Variety. He claims the four creators were promised 40% of net receipts from all sources of revenue, but he accuses Vivendi—which acquired the rights to the film in 1989—of a "concerted and fraudulent campaign to hide, or grossly underreport, the film's revenues in order to avoid its profit participation obligations," per the Guardian.

In particular, Shearer, who is seeking $125 million, says Vivendi claimed just $98 from soundtrack sales between 1989 and 2006, and $81 from global merchandising income from 1984 to 2006. Vivendi has "failed and refused, and continues to fail and refuse, to provide [Shearer] with proper and accurate accountings reflecting the amount of revenues," reads the complaint filed at the Central District Court of California on Monday. "The only people who haven't shared Spinal Tap's success are those who formed the band and created the film in the first place," adds Shearer, noting his suit is "on behalf of all creators of popular films whose talent has not been fairly remunerated." Vivendi declined to comment, per the BBC. (More lawsuit stories.)

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