Anthony Fantano Is Courting Lawsuits Over… His TikTok Pizza Meme

Anthony Fantano Anthony Fantano.jpg - Credit: Jillian Freyer/The New York Times/Redux
Anthony Fantano Anthony Fantano.jpg - Credit: Jillian Freyer/The New York Times/Redux
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Imagine going through the entire process of securing a law degree in hopes of representing clients in meaningful court cases, only to ultimately end up defending them in a lawsuit centered around the use of a 19-second TikTok audio. That’s the reality for attorneys representing Anthony Fantano, the YouTube music critic who has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit from video game developers Activision Publishing.

The corporation has claimed that the online personality demanded it “immediately pay him substantial monetary damages” in the six-figure ballpark for using — wait for it — the “that’s enough slices” TikTok audio he created in 2021. If they didn’t pay up, Fantano and his lawyers allegedly told Activision they’d better be “prepared to defend a lawsuit.”

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Fantano’s threats, laid out in a letter issued to Activision, centered around right of publicity claims for false endorsement — even though the audio clip, as Activision argued, is available for public use on the app. The audio in question has been used in over 54,000 videos on TikTok, but Fantano has allegedly only threatened legal action against certain creators. Activision specifically used the audio in June 2023 to soundtrack a video showing the creation of custom “Crash Bandicoot” sneakers.

“In an apparent effort to even further profit from the Slices Video, Fantano has embarked on a scheme whereby he selectively threatens to sue certain users of the Slices Audio unless they pay him extortionate amounts of money for their alleged use,” the lawsuit reads. “Notwithstanding that thousands of TikTok videos containing the Slices Audio have been available on TikTok for years without complaint, Fantano suddenly decided that Activision’s video infringed his publicity rights and constituted a false endorsement.”

In response to Fantano’s threats, the corporation claims it offered to take down the video altogether, and eventually did, but was met with the aforementioned ultimatum. Fantano allegedly claimed that the use of the audio created “confusion, mistake or deception” about his involvement with the corporation. He also threatened to file the suit in New York, despite neither party operating out of the state.

The critic seemingly thought the threat of a lawsuit would get him paid, but now he’s the one being sued.

Fantano did not immediately return Rolling Stone‘s request for comment. It wasn’t immediately clear if Fantano had retained an attorney in the case.

“In any event, no reasonable consumer would mistakenly believe that Fantano — who admits that users have no idea the Slices Audio features his voice — sponsored or endorsed Activision or its video merely because the Slices Audio was included in that video,” Activision’s lawsuit continues. “To the contrary, Fantano’s own admission that the Slices Audio is a TikTok ‘meme’ wholly undercuts any such assertion. Members of the public are no more confused about Fantano’s involvement with that video than they are with any of the other thousands of TikTok videos containing the Slices Audio.”

The suit adds: “Moreover, even though Activision agreed to remove its video from TikTok, Fantano demanded that Activision either immediately pay him substantial monetary damages or be prepared to defend a lawsuit. As a result, Activision had no choice but to seek declaratory relief from this Court.”

Activision is seeking a declaratory judgment in its favor from the court as well as reimbursement of the fees and costs allotted to bringing the lawsuit against Fantano.

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