Posted on Thursday, June 24th, 2010 by Peter Sciretta
I know that /Film isn’t a gossip site, and we rarely report on lawsuits (especially more personal cases like this). But anyone who has seen the new documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work will probably be interested in this late breaking update. If you haven’t yet seen this documentary, you should seek it out. And if you have the time, rent the documentary Comedian, as it makes a powerful double feature.
In the documentary, comedian Joan Rivers has a fall out with her long time manager William “Billy” Sammeth, and is forced to let him go after he stops returning her calls. Sammeth is now suing River for more than $2 million, claiming that she defamed him in the documentary and failed to pay him $200,000 in earned commissions. Billy claims that he worked for Rivers during the filming of the documentary before being fired solely to give the movie “a fictional controversy.”
Rivers has issued a statement, saying:
“This is the claim of a former personal manager, who was properly terminated over one year ago. Billy Sammeth is now making claims for money to which he is not entitled, and I am confident that the judicial system will dispose of Mr. Sammeth’s lawsuit in the appropriate manner.”
Sammeth also claims that he was instrumental in helping Rivers win the television show Celebrity Apprentice, as his pledge and payment of $18,000 at a charity auction helped Rivers “stave off elimination from the program that she ultimately won.”