Harry Shearer is a well-known New Orleanian comedian who has been the voice behind over two dozen characters in The Simpsons. On Monday, Shearer filed a fraud/contact-breach lawsuit against Vivendi, a French company that owns all rights to This is Spinal Tap, a 1984 mockumentary about a fictitious rock band. Shearer was a co-author of the film and also an actor, and is now suing for $125 million in damages because he claims that the studio manipulated the earnings of the film’s contributors and cast members. In the legal proceedings, Shearer says that Vivendi has “failed to account honestly for the income actually received from” the movie, its music and its merchandising.
Despite Spinal Tap’s negligible box office results ($4.5 million in U.S. theaters), the film eventually became a classic and was even re-released in 2000. Vivendi’s representatives haven’t made any comment yet on the issue of the lawsuit.