On Feb. 26 it was reported that attorney Max Petrunya, who is defending G-Raver as well as William Molnar of the wrestling shirt company, Indy Connection, had filed a motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit filed by Cornette.
Cornette filed a lawsuit in December 2019 over a t-shirt with his likeness being stabbed that said "Fuck Jim Cornette." The motion to dismiss focuses on protecting the actions of the defendants’ First Amendments rights. There were three points of contention in Cornette's lawsuit; the trademark that Raver and The Indy Connection filed for the term “Fuck Jim Cornette,” the registered domain that contains the aforementioned term, and the t-shirt.
Speaking to Dominic DeAngelo of WrestleZone, Petrunya explained his side of the case in regard to the t-shirt in question.
“The Cornette character itself and Jim Cornette have always been critical of things that they don’t agree with in professional wrestling and so that’s Jim’s brand, that’s what he does to get a rise out of people and so for him to turn around and sue G-Raver and The Indy Connection for selling a shirt that basically goes to show that his opinions may be flawed or their opinions of the Cornette character is a little antithetical if you understand because what Raver is doing by designing this t-shirt, what they’re doing by selling the t-shirt is they’re providing a medium for individuals to express their opinion about Cornette and his opinions.”
He continued, “So Raver was one of the first deathmatch wrestlers to start using tattoo needles during his matches. He’s actually a professional tattoo artist outside of professional wrestling so the t-shirt itself is it’s a parody. It’s a satire. It is nothing more than an individual who does not agree with the opinions or views of another individual utilizing a medium that allows people to support the message that Raver and The Indy Connection are promoting and to show the weaknesses of Cornette’s opinion and that’s protectable under the First Amendment and it doesn’t matter whether it’s sold for profit. That is something that the courts have protected based on the case law that we’ve reviewed. So that really is the basis of this whole matter is the t-shirt itself. Now the trademark application and the website are different animals, but just dealing specifically with the image and likeness of Cornette…The t-shirt is such an important medium of expression in the professional wrestling world that outside of doing something on social media, the t-shirt’s the next best form of expression that wrestler’s have to parody or satire other people’s characters.”
Petrunya noted that he wants to believe that Cornette is just playing a character on social media, but knows that the lines between reality and character are blurred.
Cornette and his attorney Stephen P. New has filed a temporary restraining order against The Indy Connection over the "Clownette" shirt.
Fightful will continue to update fans on the proceedings as they unfold.