Billionaire business mogul, Donald Trump, has proven once again that he is not one for joking, or shall one say monkeying, around.
Last month on an NBC “Night Show” appearance on Jay Leno, comedian and HBO Real Time host Bill Maher poked fun at the business tycoon, jestingly suggesting Trump was half human and half orangutan.
During the interview, Maher said, “Suppose that perhaps Donald Trump had been the spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan... The color of his hair and the color of an orange orangutan [are] the only two things in nature of the same color. . . . I’m not saying it’s true, I hope it’s not true, but unless he comes up with proof, I’m willing to offer five million dollars to Donald Trump that he can donate to a charity of his choice...”
Trump immediately took the bait, despite the obvious wisecrack. He responded to Maher by sharing a copy of his birth certificate to prove his father was indeed a real human by the name of Fred C. Trump. Upon proving his birth certificate,Trump also asked Maher to pay up.
Maher, having no intention of ever doing so, never did. On Monday Trump informed Fox News he had filed a lawsuit against Maher, suing him for the offered sum.
“He promised me $5 million for charity if I provided certain information,” said Trump. “Well, I provided the information. He didn’t pay. So today, I sue Bill Maher for five million dollars for charity.”
Simply put, Trump’s lawsuit is frivolous and can be chalked up to no more than his most recent publicity stunt.
Trump and Maher have both been in the spotlight long enough to know perfectly well that Trump has no case. Maher’s comments were a mere comedic observation made by one public figure about another public figure.
But the more attention Trump can draw to himself, the less likely it is that he, or the comments, will be quickly forgotten or ignored. And what greater fear could someone like Trump possibly have than being ignored? As they say, “any publicity is good publicity.”
Legally speaking and all publicity ploys aside, Trump’s case lacks a viable claim and his lawsuit is likely to be dismissed by a motion from Maher.
First, a court of law does not have the power or jurisdiction to require Maher to pay a charitable contribution and Trump does not have a right “standing” to request a court to order a charitable contribution.
Second, there is no contract between Trump and Maher. Without a written or verbal contract, the court cannot require Maher to pay any sum of money to Trump, regardless of the amount.
Despite any further attempts Trump might make to fool the public, the court will likely grant a motion to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim.
Trump described Maher’s comments as “venomous,” but really they were blatantly untrue and, in this case, even impossible. Yet Trump has taken every opportunity to stay in the limelight by publicly sharing his birth certificate, filing a lawsuit and openly bad-mouthing Maher.
No reasonable person would ever believe Trump could genetically be half orangutan. Sure, Trump easily paid the fee to file the lawsuit, but taking the case any further is an entirely different story. Rather than trying to sue Maher, Trump should thank him for the opportunity to attract the public’s eye for a moment and wallow in his own publicity.