Karen Gravano, former actress on the TV show Mob Wives, and daughter of real life mobster Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano, sued the Rockstar Games Co. over the use of a character in the mob-themed “Grand Theft Auto V” video game – a character Gravano asserts was modeled after her without her permission.
The complaint asserts that the make-believe “Antonia Bottino” incorporated Gravano’s image and life story into the game without consulting Gravano or providing her any compensation. The filing noted, “[n]otwithstanding the fact that plaintiff has the utmost respect for the writers and creators of the Grand Theft Auto V video game . . . [Gravano’s] story is unique and is hers to tell.” It went on to note that the video game’s producers could have gotten Gravano’s permission to use her name and likeness “with relative ease,” precluding the need for this lawsuit.
In the game, Antonia is portrayed as the daughter of Sammy Bottino, a mob-boss turned snitch who acquired many enemies upon becoming a police informant. Bottino is believed to be modeled after Gravano’s father, a Gambino family underboss who eventually turned on the syndicate and helped to build the case against Mafioso John Gotti.
Gravano’s complaint is seeking $20 million as compensation for the defendant’s actions, as well as $20 million in punitive damages. When contacted, Rockstar Games simply stated “[w]e do not comment on legal matters.” Last fall, Grand Theft Auto V grossed $1 billion within three days of its release, making it the fastest entertainment product to do so in history.