As one might have expected following the opening-weekend success of his anti-Darwinism documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Required, everybody in town wants a piece of Ben Stein. Among them: Yoko Ono, a huuuuuge Stein fan from back in his Nixon speechwriting days who nevertheless bristled at the part of the film that featured "Imagine" without the John Lennon estate's permission:
In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan, Ono accuses the producers of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed of suggesting to viewers that those who guard John Lennon's legacy somehow authorized or sponsored the film.
The producers of the film ... said they used only "a very small portion of the song." "Based on the fair use doctrine, news commentators and film documentarians regularly use material in the same way we do," Premise Media said in a statement. "Unbiased viewers of the film will see that the 'Imagine' clip was used as part of a social commentary in the exercise of free speech and freedom of inquiry."
Worse yet, the complaint alleges that "Internet 'bloggers' immediately began accusing Mrs. Lennon of 'selling out' by licensing the song to defendants." Having also been on the receiving end of such "bloggers"' wrath in the past, we deeply sympathize with Ono and hope her .029% share of Expelled's staggering $3 million opening gross covers the indignity of anyone thinking she would exploit her husband's legacy. To that end, we hear Stein's defense will consist of him playing the Original Broadway Cast Album of Ono's bomb Lennon in its entirety at full blast.
- Yoko Ono sues in NY [AP]