Here is another reason to hate American Chopper, the loathsome reality series in which a family of angry morons and their patient minions build ridiculous, six figure motorcycles for celebrities, millionaires and soulless corporations.
Cody Connelly, a kid who first appeared in the pilot for the show when he was 14 and worked for the enterprise until he was 20 is suing four corporations and one Teutul for his back pay. In the pilot Connelly was described as “a young fabricating prodigy.”
You may also remember Connelly from Season One, episodes 8 and 9. In episode 8, titled “Old School Chopper,” Paul Teutul senior, the angry moron in charge, gave “Cody a crash course in the art of classic chopper design.” In episode 9 the next week, it was “graduation day for Paul and Cody’s Old School Chopper, and all of Cody’s hard work earns him one sweet diploma: the keys.”
Just Kidding Kid
Well that was all just television. The kid never actually got the motorcycle. And, about two thirds of the time, even though he became one of the beloved regular minions on the show, he never actually got paid either.
So in May, as the statute of limitations was running out, the kid who is now 22 hired a lawyer. On May 29th he sued Orange County Choppers, Inc.; Orange County Choppers Talent Limited Liability Corporation; Orange County Choppers Tours and Endorsements LLC; Orange County Choppers Vehicles and Maintenance LLC; and Paul Teutul, Sr. for $250,000 for “unlawful and unauthorized use of Plaintiff’s name and likeness; invasion of privacy, breach of contract; breach of an implied contract; failure to pay for services rendered; unjust enrichment and fraud.”
The suit also alleges that Connelly ‘appeared and participated in approximately 92 additional episodes of the show” but has so far only “received payment for 31 episodes.” That he “appeared, attended and participated in numerous events, shows, festivals and autograph signings on behalf ” of the show without being paid.
And, “in an episode of the show occurring on or about June 30, 2003 before millions of viewers defendant Paul Teutul, Sr. gifted to plaintiff the motorcycle known as the ‘Old School Chopper’ that plaintiff helped design. To date the chopper has not been delivered to plaintiff.”
But the defendants have “continued to use and market various items bearing plaintiff’s name and likeness without” Cody Connelly’s permission “and with complete and blatant disregard for the laws…which expressly prohibit such use.”