Reality TV Star Sues HBO over 'Johnny Bananas' Monicker

Oct 5, 2011 - LegalZoom News Sources
Kevin Dillon's "Entourage" character, Johnny Bananas, is the subject of a lawsuit.

John Devenanzio, who appeared on MTV's "The Real World Key West" and other reality shows, has filed a lawsuit against HBO, Time Warner and Doug Ellin, creator of the HBO series "Entourage," alleging that the "Entourage" character Johnny Bananas was based on him.

In a cease-and-desist letter Devenanzio's attorneys sent HBO, the Real World star said he is known by the nickname "Johnny Bananas" and that the introduction of a character by the same name on "Entourage" illegally capitalized on his name recognition and reputation among viewers.

TMZ quoted the letter as saying, "I intend to fight vigorously in defense of the years of hard work and dedication I've spent making Johnny Bananas a household name."

Devenanzio's defense has now taken the form a lawsuit. The Hollywood Reporter said it does not appear Devenanzio is alleging HBO has engaged in trademark infringement, and the case appears similar to one earlier this year involving Lindsay Lohan.

Lohan and Devananzio share the same attorney, THR reported, who in the Lohan case argued that certain celebrities achieve such notoriety that their names are entitled to protection regardless of whether they are officially trademarked. The Lohan case settled out of court.