Vincent Gallo is suing a reporter for posting an audio recording of a private conversation — in which he takes shots at Spike Jonze, Julia Roberts and the Coppolas — on the journalist’s for-profit website.
“Many of these comments were outrageous including mocking Francis Ford Coppola’s weight and fondness of food,” states the complaint filed Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
The indie multihyphenate is suing Hikari Takano, who interviewed him in 2003 for a feature on The Brown Bunny to be published in a Japanese motorcycling and lifestyle magazine called Free & Easy.
The conversation at issue happened on a Hollywood sidewalk while waiting for a tow truck because Gallo’s Porsche broke down near Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street on the way to the photo shoot. Takano met him there and the two began “small talk while waiting on the side of the road.”
That small talk included the comment about Coppola, with whom Gallo was working at the time.
The lawsuit claims Gallo has created an audacious “off camera character” and the comments were clearly made to get into that character and with the intent that they were private.
The actual interview happened a week later by phone. While Gallo says he knew that conversation was on the record, he didn’t know that Takano was again recording him without his consent.
Gallo later found that Takano had posted both audio recordings on his website, and formally objected to them. Takano removed the recordings and Gallo thought that was the end of it, according to the complaint.
More than a decade later, Gallo says he learned that Takano had combined the two interviews into one audio file and posted it to his website.
Gallo is suing for invasion of privacy, violation of right of publicity and violation of California Penal Code Section 632, which protects confidential communication. He is seeking a permanent injunction and damages.
In an email to The Hollywood Reporter, Takano called the lawsuit frivolous. “This audio has been published in full since August 2010. Well past the statute of limitation,” he wrote. “And this content was never taken down nor did I ever agree to do so.”
May 3, 8:35 a.m. Updated with a comment from Takano.