Stephen M. Silverman
January 02, 2003 12:00 PM

Here’s one for the law books: A Montana man who was born Bob Craft — but who legally changed his name to “Jack Ass” in 1997 — has sued Viacom Inc., claiming that its MTV show and movie “Jackass” has defamed him, Reuters reports.

In a suit filed two months ago but which only came to light over the past few days on Ass’s Web site, Jack Ass (the man) says he changed his name to raise awareness about the dangers of drunk driving.

In his suit, Ass claims Viacom is “liable for injury to my reputation that I have built and defamation of my character which I have worked so hard to create.”

Ass’s suit seeks more than $10 million in damages. He is representing himself.

(An old legal public-relations adage goes, “A man who represents himself has a fool for a client.” Or, in this case, Jack Ass.)

Ass, whose day job is that of a journeyman power lineman, says he changed his name as part of a personal crusade against drunk driving after his brother and a friend were killed in a car crash. Theirs was the only vehicle involved, said Reuters.

A spokeswoman for Viacom’s MTV Networks, which airs the “Jackass” program, tells the news service that its policy was not to comment on pending litigation.

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