Vincent Gallo, the American actor and director best known for the films “Buffalo ’66” and “The Brown Bunny,” is suing Facebook Inc. for allowing an impersonator account to remain on its site.

The dispute comes as Facebook faces inquiries from some U.S. Senators and conservative leaders over allegations of bias in the way the social network curates its news.

Ever since “The Brown Bunny” attracted media attention for its explicit scenes, Gallo has gone to great lengths to protect the private aspects of his life, he claimed in a May 16 complaint.  As such, Gallo said he has never had a Facebook page. 

But a Facebook page for Gallo exists.  According to the complaint, the anonymous creator has been using the page to impersonate Gallo, interact with his real-life friends and initiate sexual conversations with women.

Gallo said Facebook has ignored multiple requests to remove the page.  By refusing to accommodate his requests, Facebook intended to—and did— cause him emotional distress, Gallo argued.

Gallo is trying to hold Facebook liable under federal trademark law, specifically Section 43 of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125, and California’s unfair competition law, for knowingly causing a likelihood of confusion as to the account’s source.

He is seeking punitive damages and a court order banning Facebook from continuing to allow the fake account to exist and, on behalf of all Facebook users in similar circumstances, profiting from impersonator accounts and ignoring takedown requests.

For Facebook, the issue is whether to pull down the Gallo impersonator page. Or dig in for a fight.


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