Karen Gravano, daughter of former Gambino crime family underboss Salvatore Gravano, has filed a lawsuit against the makers of Grand Theft Auto V. She alleges that her likeness and parts of her life story were used for a minor character in the game, and is seeking $40 million in the suit.
Gravano’s father, better known as “Sammy the Bull”, testified against Gambino family head John Gotti, who received a life sentence. Salvatore received a five year sentence for his involvement with the Gambino family, and then entered the Witness Protection Program. Salvatore and his family were moved by the feds to Arizona. My extensive research tells me he had trouble finding arugula, which he categorized as a “ve-juh-ta-bull”.
Karen Gravano believes that the Grand Theft Auto V character Antonia Bottino (pictured behind Franklin in the banner image) was based on her. Let’s check the similarities, shall we? According to GTA Wiki, Bottino is the daughter of Sammy “Sonny” Bottino, the former right hand man to Gambetti family boss, Jon Gravelli. Sammy and his family went into hiding out west to avoid a murder charge against him. Upon his arrest, he turned state’s evidence against the Gambettis.
While the stories are similar, they’re hardly close enough to merit any attention from the media. Why are we talking about this? Probably because Gravano is a former reality show star, who appeared on the first three seasons of VH1’s Mob Wives. In what is surely a testament to her character, she was kicked off the show before the fourth season. She also wrote a book about her relationship with her father and the mafia, which must not have sold very well if she needs $40 million.
Gravano is publishing another book about her life in the near future, and we know this because it’s mentioned in the lawsuit. Allegedly, the new book is crucial to her suit because it reveals more similarities between the Grand Theft Auto V character and herself. When one of the game’s three main characters rescued Antonia, she was being buried alive by her father’s enemies. Unless her book reveals that she was also buried alive, I get the feeling that this lawsuit is all about getting publicity for her book.
The makers of Grand Theft Auto have been hit with plenty of frivolous lawsuits, and won all of them. Grand Theft Auto V, the latest installment, earned $1 billion in just three days. That makes it the fastest entertainment product ever to reach that mark. As long as the games keep making money like that, society is going to keep making fame whores and hangers-on like this.