'Yogasm' offends Berra

Updated: February 1, 2005, 11:04 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Hall of Famer Yogi Berra has filed a $10 million lawsuit against TBS, claiming the cable television network sullied his name by using it in a racy advertisement for its "Sex and the City" reruns.

Berra's papers, filed in Manhattan's state Supreme Court, say the Turner Broadcasting System Inc. ad, which has appeared on buses and in subways, caused "severe damage to his reputation" with its reference to Kim Cattrall's sexually promiscuous character, Samantha.

The offending ad, Berra's court papers say, queried readers about the definition of "yogasm." Possible definitions: (a) a type of yo-yo trick, (b) sex with Yogi Berra and (c) what Samantha has with a guy from yoga class. The answer is (c).

The reference to the sexual act made in connection with Berra "engenders a moral taint that has damaged his otherwise spotless reputation," say his court papers, filed last week and posted on thesmokinggun.com Web site.

The 79-year-old Berra "is a married man and has children and grandchildren," his court papers say. "He is a deeply religious man who has maintained and continues to maintain a moral lifestyle and has a spotless reputation for integrity, decency and moral character."

Berra's lawyer Lewis Smoley, said he was told TBS stopped running the ad last August. Nevertheless, he said, he wants the court to order the superstation to never run the ad again.

The Berra suit seeks $5 million on each of two causes of action: commercial use of his name without permission and unjust enrichment by use of his name without permission.

A spokeswoman for TBS, based in Atlanta, said Tuesday: "We do not comment on litigation."

Berra, a catcher for the New York Yankees from 1946-63 who lives in Montclair, N.J., is one of baseball's most beloved and quotable characters. He also managed the Yankees and the New York Mets to pennants.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press