In 2014, former Minnesota governor and professional wrestler Jesse Ventura won a defamation lawsuit against Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL sniper that wrote a book that became a movie that allowed Bradley Cooper to say “baby” about 100 times. Ventura was awarded $1.8 million in damages from Kyle’s estate and Harper Collins, the publisher of the American Sniper book.
Ventura was pleased and happy to brag about the victory, but it looks like he may have gotten ahead of himself.
An appeals court overturned the ruling Monday. Harper Collins and Kyle’s estate would not have to pay Ventura $500,000 and $1.3 million, respectively. Kyle died in 2013.
Kyle claimed in a subchapter called “Punching Out Scruff Face,” to have decked a man, whom he later identified as Ventura, during a fallen SEAL’s wake at a California bar in 2006. He wrote that “Scruff Face” had made offensive comments about the elite force, including a remark that the SEALs “deserve to lose a few” in Iraq.
Ventura, a former Underwater Demolition Teams/SEAL member and ex-pro wrestler, testified at trial that Kyle’s story was a fabrication. Ventura said he never made the comments and that the altercation never happened. He said the book ruined his reputation in the tight-knit SEAL community.
The appeals court sent the defamation case back to the lower court for a new trial.
It’s possible Kyle invented that story, as he invented other things in his book that became a movie that was about 40 minutes too long.
Last month, documents showed the number of medals Kyle received for his military service is different from what he indicated in his best-selling memoir. Navy documents show Kyle earned one Silver Star and three Bronze Stars with valor, instead of the two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars his book says he received.
There are no real winners here, except the people that haven’t seen the movie. If you’d like more background into this lawsuit, we’ve got you covered.