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Hells Angels Founder Sues HBO

HBO Gets on the Wrong Side of the Hells Angels


In a throwdown between a notorious biker gang leader and a major pay-cable network, who wins? We're about to find out, as Hells Angels founder Sonny Barger has filed a lawsuit saying HBO stole his ideas without credit when creating the upcoming biker-gang drama 1%.

The show, which stars Donal Logue, was about to start production on its pilot. But Barger is arguing that the pilot's writer and producer, Michael Tolkin, is using stories they developed together without giving him credit. Tolkin was once hired to write a screenplay based on Barger's autobiography, and Barger says he also told Tolkin about a number of novels he'd written based on a fictional motorcycle club. The two apparently pitched the idea for a series together, and Barger claims that after he objected to a number of details in the pilot, HBO decided it wanted nothing to do with him. According to the suit, the original pilot used Barger's nickname (Chief), some actual place names (the major setting of Carefree, AZ, which is near Barger's home), and details of his life (that he moved from Northern California) without giving any credit. All of those details have since been changed.

Barger now wants due credit for his ideas — and it's not clear if this will keep the pilot from getting off the ground. The thing is, I'm pretty sure nobody wants to mess with the Hells Angels.

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