According to the Minnesota Star Tribune, Ventura’s new lawsuit claims that publicity created by Kyle’s telling of the incident — a 2006 bar fight in which Kyle said he punched a celebrity in the face for making disparaging remarks about the military — “increased sales” and generated “millions of dollars for HarperCollins.” Kyle didn’t identify the celebrity as Ventura in “American Sniper,” but he did so in subsequent media interviews.
HarperCollins announced in late July that the offending passage would be removed from the book. On Tuesday, a spokesman for the company said it would not comment on pending litigation.
A movie based on the book — directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper — will be released on Christmas Day. Advertisements for the film, which is based on Kyle’s time in Iraq, have been in heavy rotation; there has been no indication, according to the Star Tribune, that the alleged incident with Ventura is depicted in the film.
Kyle, called the deadliest sniper in U.S. history, was fatally shot along with another man on a Texas gun range last year; his estate is headed by Taya Kyle, his widow, the Star Tribune reported. Chris Kyle maintained that the bar-fight story was accurate, in a deposition videotaped before his death, according to the New York Daily News.
Ventura has faced criticism for continuing to pursue legal action after Kyle’s death, but he has said he has no regrets. He has been active in the Navy SEAL community for years, and served with the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team units based in the Philippines in the 1970s. The remaining UDTs were redesignated as SEAL Delivery Vehicle Teams in the 1980s.
“All I wanted to do was clear my name,” Ventura told CBS News in July. He added: “It has nothing to do with a widow or anything like that.”
Previously on Checkpoint:
Jesse Ventura vs. Chris Kyle: A case where no one won