A founder of a prison gang has sued actor Edward James Olmos and producers of the film “American Me” for allegedly using his life story without permission.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, also claims that the film falsely attributed crimes, including several “brutal” murders, to the character based on plaintiff Joseph Morgan, who the suit said has never been charged with any of the murders.
The similarities to Morgan, however, include the fact that he is a white male who grew up in the barrio on East Los Angeles, has a shaved head, lost a leg and wears a prosthesis and speaks fluent Spanish.
He is also one of the founders of the Mexican Mafia prison gang, just as one of the two main characters in “American Me” was, the suit said.
The film disclosed “private facts,” some of which occurred more than 20 years ago and were unknown to Morgan’s children, the suit said. Other facts are allegedly untrue and could affect his chances for parole.
The complaint seeks unspecified compensatory damages and $ 500,000 in punitive damages.
Also named defendants are Yoy American Me Joint Venture, Bobwin Prods., Irwin Young, Olmos Prods., Irwin Young Prods. and Universal Studios.