Just days before Donald Trump is sworn in as our 45th President, we’ve been spending this MLK holiday weekend searching for legal-related stories to fill your news feed. For some reason, on Facebook, people have been posting about an old lawsuit that Trump filed against comedian Bill Maher. It’s unclear why the lawsuit is now of renewed interest, but the details are pretty hilarious. So we thought we would do a quick throwback Monday to remind you about what happened. Surely (and hopefully), the President-elect has moved on to more important things, but for those of you not familiar with the details, enjoy!
In 2013, on his program “Real Time with Bill Maher,’ Maher made a joke about Trump’s mom having sex with an orangutan. It got pretty raunchy.
“To determine whether he is in fact the love child of a human woman and an orangatan from the Brooklyn zoo,” Maher said. “Look, I’m not saying your mother was repeatedly ****ing an orangutan back in the 1940’s, I don’t know if that’s true I hope it’s not true. But given your face, your physique and your intelligence level and of course your hair, the American people deserve some real proof that your mother did not spend most nights in 1945 covering her body in banana oil sneaking into the monkey cage and compulsively humping an orange orangutan.”
As you can imagine, Trump wasn’t too thrilled by the satire. But Maher continued to tear into the reality star when he appeared on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” and proclaimed he would give $5 million to charity if Trump could prove that he is not the son of an orangutan. Trump had previously offered $5 million for Obama to release his college records.
Well, Trump, in what surely was a PR stunt, took Maher up on his offer, and through his attorney sent Maher a copy of his birth certificate that showed that his father was Fred Trump, not an orangutan.
“Attached hereto is a copy of Mr. Trump’s birth certificate, demonstrating that he is the son of Fred Trump, not an orangutan,” the letter read.
“I made an absolute acceptance, I sent him documentation and he owes me $5 million, ” Trump said during an appearance on Extra. Under Trump’s theory, Maher made a verbal offer, and when he apparently wouldn’t pay up, Trump sued for breach of contract.
At the time, legal experts said there would be little chance Trump would win given that it was satirical in nature.
“Trump would have to prove that Maher’s words and conduct demonstrated, objectively, that he intended to be bound by his statement, and that he was not merely making a joke,” Dori Ann Hanswirth told The Hollywood Reporter. “Given the outrageousness of Maher’s statement, the amount of money involved and the fact that his statement was made on a comedy TV show, it seems that Trump has an uphill battle here.”
Needless to say Trump eventually withdrew the lawsuit with a promise to re-file an “amended complaint.” There is no indication that Trump ever fulfilled that promise either.