Jesse Ventura sues ‘American Sniper’ publisher HarperCollins

Jesse Ventura, who was awarded $1.8 million in a defamation lawsuit against author Chris Kyle's estate, is now suing HarperCollins.
(Elizabeth Flores / Associated Press)

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura has filed another lawsuit over “American Sniper,” the bestselling autobiography by the late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who Ventura claims defamed him in his book.

In a passage from the book, Kyle claimed he punched Ventura, himself a Navy veteran, after the ex-professional wrestler made derogatory remarks about the Navy SEALs. In the book, Kyle referred to Ventura only as “Scruff Face,” but later confirmed in interviews that he was writing about Ventura.

The new lawsuit, filed Monday, is directed at HarperCollins, the publisher of “American Sniper,” reports the Star Tribune. Ventura previously sued Kyle’s estate for defamation and unjust enrichment, and won $1.8-million award for damages. That suit was originally filed against Kyle, but the defendant was changed to his estate after Kyle was killed in 2013 at a shooting range in Texas.


In the suit against HarperCollins, Ventura says news reports “generated by the false and defamatory story about Ventura substantially increased sales of ‘American Sniper,’ thereby generating millions of dollars in revenues and profits for HarperCollins.” Ventura is seeking $150,000 in damages from the publisher, though the Star Tribune notes that “it is anticipated [Ventura] will seek a lot more in settlement discussions that normally precede a trial.”

The book could be the subject of even more publicity in the coming weeks. A film adaptation of “American Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper as Kyle and directed by Clint Eastwood, is set for release on Dec. 25, and has already started garnering Oscar buzz.