‘This Is Spinal Tap’ creators reunite for $400m lawsuit

Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Rob Reiner and Harry Shearer say they have been denied "their rightful stake in the production’s profits".

This Is Spinal Tap co-creators Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner have formally joined fellow co-creator Harry Shearer in a $400 million (£320 million) fraud lawsuit.

Shearer, who voices several characters on The Simpsons including Mr Burns and Smithers, filed the original lawsuit against French company Vivendi SA in October. It alleges that Vivendi SA “engaged in anti-competitive and unfair business practices, as well as fraudulent accounting” in its management of This Is Spinal Tap, which has been voted the funniest comedy film of all time.

According to The Guardian, Shearer’s original lawsuit, which sought $125 million (£100 million) in damages, has now swelled to $400 million (£320 million) with the other three co-creators on board. The co-creators are claiming they have been denied “their rightful stake in the production’s profits”.


Commenting on the lawsuit, Guest said: “The deliberate obfuscation by Vivendi and its subsidiaries is an outrage. It is vital that such behavior is challenged in the strongest way possible.”

McKean added: “This Is Spinal Tap was the result of four very stubborn guys working very hard to create something new under the sun. The movie’s influence on the last three decades of film comedy is something we are very proud of. But the buck always stopped somewhere short of Rob, Harry, Chris and myself. It’s time for a reckoning. It’s only right.”

“Fair reward for artistic endeavor has long been raised by those on the wrong end of the equation,” Reiner added. “What makes this case so egregious is the prolonged and deliberate concealment of profit and the purposeful manipulation of revenue allocation between various Vivendi subsidiaries – to the detriment of the creative talent behind the band and film. Such anti-competitive practices need to be exposed. I am hoping this lawsuit goes to 11.”

Shearer said of his co-creators’ decision to join: “Their participation will help demonstrate the opaque and misleading conduct at the heart of this case. We’re even louder now.”