Simpsons voice actor Hank Azaria has filed a lawsuit against Craig Bierko over the rights to one of his characters.
According to The Wrap, Azaria voiced fictional baseball announcer Jim Brockmire in a Funny Or Die skit in 2010. The sketch led to various movie opportunities for Azaria. Those offers disappeared, however, when actor Craig Bierko claimed that he was the one he created the character of Jim Brockmire.
Azaria is now suing Bierko.
According to the lawsuit, Azaria created the character in 1983 and showed the character to Bierko in 1990. The character didn’t find a venue until Azaria used the voice for a Funny Or Die skit in 2010.
The lawsuit reads:
“(Bierko’s claim of ownership) has created a cloud over the rightful ownership of the Azaria Voice (which is an integral part of the Jim Brockmire Character) such that Plaintiffs’ ability to develop a feature length motion picture based upon the Jim Brockmire Character is being significantly impeded.”
The lawsuit doesn’t ask for any monetary damage (a part from legal fees) but asks that the courts declare that the Brockmire character belongs to Azaria. The Simpsons actor is seeking a declaration that Brockmire is a copyrightable character. He also wants the court to declare that Bierko has no claim to the character.
Here’s a video of the 2010 Funny Or Die skit featuring Hank Azaria as Jim Brockmire.