Actor Jim Belushi filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court June 4 against a woman he claims spread rumors about him that led to a loss of business at his Chicago comedy club and damaged his professional relationships with others in the comedy business.
Belushi filed the complaint against Sahar Chavoshi, who court documents identified as the girlfriend of Kyle Lane, owner of Lane’s Comedy Bar in downtown Chicago. Chavoshi was once employed as the general manager of another Lane’s Comedy Bar location, the lawsuit says.
According to court documents, last fall Lane attempted to license the trademark Belushi’s Comedy Bar, owned by Belushi’s company Bessie Blu. Lane and Bessie Blu began negotiations, but after several months, talks broke down in January, the lawsuit says.
After negotiations broke down, the litigation says, Chavoshi “embarked on a public campaign to malign the reputation” of Bessie Blu and Belushi and to interfere with the company’s relationships with comics, vendors and business associates around the country.
According to the lawsuit, Chavoshi began telling comedians, including some who had worked at a Belushi-branded comedy bar in Florida, that Belushi is a liar and fraud who cheated and manipulated comics who worked at his comedy bars. She also told people that Belushi was actively attempting to take over Lane’s Comedy Bar and to remove Lane from management.
The suit claims Belushi’s Comedy Bar has lost business as a result of Chavoshi’s statements. At least two comics told Chavoshi that they intended to cancel their scheduled appearances at Belushi-owned comedy bars, the litigation says. It goes on to say that Chavoshi withheld knowledge of the cancellations and refused to share the comics’ contact information with Bessie Blu “in an effort to stifle communications between Belushi and the comics and interfere with Belushi’s and Bessie Blu’s business.”
In addition, the suit claims Chavoshi made false and disparaging statements to a web designer who had been hired and paid to design a website for a Belushi’s-branded comedy bar. The web designer has since stopped working on the website and refused to communicate with Bessie Blu, according to court documents.
Belushi has brought one charge of defamation against Chavoshi for her statements. According to the suit, Chavoshi was presented with a cease and desist letter, but has continued to post and publicize statements to the effect that Belushi has lied to and manipulated comics.
The suit was filed by attorney Naureen Amjad of Pedersen & Houpt, PC, on behalf of Belushi and Bessie Blu. The suit asks the court to award damages of more than $50,000, plus court costs, attorney fees and punitive damages.
Belushi, an actor, singer and comedian, who has performed on the stage, television and film since the early 1980s, is perhaps best known for his work as the lead character on the television sitcom, According to Jim, which aired for eight seasons on ABC, ending in 2007.
A native Chicagoan, he is the younger brother of comedian John Belushi. He and Blues Brothers bandmate, comedian Dan Aykroyd, were among the original financers behind the House of Blues chain of live music concert halls and restaurants.