Last month, Malaysian comedian Harith Iskander has publicly announced that he is suing the organiser of “Funniest Person in the World”, Laugh Factory for failing to pay him $100,000 cash prize and the U.S. comedy tour that he was promised.
Now in a sudden turn of event, the American comedy club has counter sued the 52-year-old stand-up comedian for stealing its trade secrets, adding that Harith even claimed that former prime minister Najib Razak was his silent partner in business ventures.
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Rupa-rupanya ada segelintir netizen yang tidak berpuas hati dengan post saya dimana saya mengucapkan terima kasih kepada peminat Bangsa Johor yang menyokong saya dalam pertandingan Funniest Person in the World anjuran Laugh Factory. Mereka anggap yang saya mengucapkan Terima kasih HANYA kepada orang Johor dan bukan dengan orang lain yang memberi sokongan kepada saya. Dah jelas mereka yang anggap begitu tak sempat ataupun tak baca langsung beberapa post sebelum itu dimana saya bertungkus lumus mengucap terima kasih kepada kesemua golongan penyokong yang lain yang selama-lama ini tak habis-habis support saya. Post 'Bangsa Johor' itu saya tulis khususnya untuk kawan-kawan blogger, social influencers dan pihak media dari Johor yang berpenat-penat menyokong saya di belakang tabir sejak pertandingan ini bermula. Mungkin salah saya sebab tak memperjelaskan perkara ni. Tak apa. Kadang-kadang orang faham apa yang mereka nak faham. Saya tak boleh kawal persepsi orang, apa yang saya boleh buat, adalah pastikan niat saya positif. Saya ingin mengunakan stand up comedy untuk menyatukan orang, dan KALAULAH saya terpecahbelahkan kita pulak, saya minta maaf banyak banyak. Komedi stand-up saya sentiasa tentang menguatkan hubungan antara kita melalui gelak ketawa dan saya akan teruskan buat sehabis baik. Sekali lagi saya minta maaf kalau ada yang terguris hati sebab itu bukanlah niat saya. Izinkan saya merancang kenduri dan makan-makan untuk SEMUA yang telah menyokong saya.. supaya saya berpeluang mengucap terima kasih sepenuh hati secara personal. Butiran majlis ni akan saya kongsikan dalam masa terdekat. Jom gelak sama-sama dan ceriakan dunia! ORANG TENGAH GELAK TAK BOLEH MARAH-MARAH 🇲🇾
The comedian shared the news reported by The Hollywood Reporter on his Facebook yesterday, claiming that he didn’t know quite how to react.
“After bringing a case against Laugh Factory to pay me USD70,000 still owed to me for winning their competition … and now according to this article Laugh Factory say that I claimed Najib Razak was a ‘silent partner’ in my business – a statement that is absolutely false and I will leave it to my legal team/the professionals to handle this,” Harith wrote.
In contrast with Harith’s complaint, Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada claimed that the comedian was the one inquiring about the competition and even approached Masada, offering to open Laugh Factory club in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Jakarta, Indonesia. He also said that Harith cheated to win the competition.
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I am so excited and thrilled to have won the title of Laugh Factory's Funniest Person In The World. @laughfactoryhw When I started my career 26years ago, my goal was to unite Malaysians THRU comedy and today – I have an opportunity to unite the world with my brand of Malaysian humour. It was a tough journey, in the semi finals we had Murilo Couto (Brazil- with 2million fans), Michael Mittermeier ( Germany) ,Jimeon (Ireland) -comedy giants in Europe and I'm thrilled to share the stage with them. I'm Glad to be able to kibarkan the Malaysian flag on an international platform, it's time to put comedy from Malaysia On the world map. I'm absolutely grateful to have fans all over Malaysia, and south east Asia, UK, Denmark, Aust to support my back. It's never possible without my fans! The press has also given me full support so that's always invaluable. The minister of tourism who also supported me in a big way. The covered my flights and accommodation which was a great help! I proudly wore the Tourism Malaysia shirt on stage to show my [email protected] #malaysiatrulyasia #harithiskander . Thank you Malaysia !
“Iskander never intended to honor this agreement; rather, it was a deceit designed to gain access to and then misappropriate Defendants’ protected, proprietary intellectual property, including trade secrets, trademarks, business operations, and other intellectual property,” attorney David Martin wrote in the filing.
With regard to the contest prize, Masada also claimed that he told Harith in writing that the winner of the competition “must make ten scheduled trips to the United States” to perform and that the $100,000 prize was to be paid in ten instalments during his appearances.
Laugh Factory is suing Harith for trademark infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, unfair competition and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage.
The company is asking the court for at least $10 million in compensatory damages, plus a disgorgement of Harith’s profits and punitive damages.
“I’m just a stand up comedian from Malaysia who’s only intention was to make my country proud by winning an international competition and I am merely asking for what was promised to me as the winner – nothing more, nothing less.”
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2016 you were amazing. I am blessed to have been surrounded by some truly amazing people and created some outstandingly wonderful memories. Through it all I had the love and support of my wife @jezaminelim – apart from being a champion in her own field – has managed to sort my life out and brought it to a level previously unimaginable to me. Also could not have had the 2016 that I did without my kids (who are way smarter than me!) my family, my staff, my colleagues, my friends and the uncountable number of people who have shown me so much love and kindness over the year. These nine moments are only a glimpse of what was and a reminder of what is possible. Terima kasih semua. From the bottom of my heart. #harithiskander #2016 #throwback
“I will just stick to the facts and I can’t control others rumours mongering and spreading false accusations. We will take action against those who do. I trust the justice will prevail,” Harith said.