Joey Ramone’s brother hits back at “baseless and flimsy” biopic lawsuit

Joey Ramone’s brother has counter-sued the widow of Johnny Ramone, calling her attempts to shut down a Netflix biopic “baseless and flimsy”.

In January, Johnny Ramone’s estate sued Mickey Leigh over the upcoming Joey Ramone biopic entitled I Slept With Joey Ramone, starring Pete Davidson.

His widow, Linda, filed a lawsuit in Manhattan court on January 21, claiming that Leigh – real name Mitchel Hyman – “covertly developed an unapproved and unauthorized Ramones-based biopic” based on his “one-sided recitation of the history of the Ramones”.

And now, a countersuit filed on March 15 by Leigh and his lawyers has rejected Linda’s claims, while also claiming that she had already signed off on a biopic film several years ago.

Ramones in NYC, 1979. CREDIT: David Tan/Shinko Music

As reported by Billboard, the lawyers wrote: “Ms. Cummings-Ramone’s main purpose is to embarrass, harass, and destroy the integrity of Mr. Hyman, create an utterly false narrative about him, rewrite her role in the history of the Ramones, and win a popularity contest in which, in her mind, she takes over … the legacy of a band of which she never was a member and had nothing to do with creatively.”

“She is driven by an alternate agenda, including her own fame and vanity, as well as a self-serving desire to obstruct projects and control RPI for reasons which conflict with her fiduciary duties and cause her to avoid any modicum of cooperation with Mr. Hyman,” they continued.


The original lawsuit did not explicitly name Netflix as a defendant in the case, but Linda Ramone’s representatives did state that the film being referred to is based on Leigh’s own memoir.

Linda and Leigh both own equal shares in the Ramones’ intellectual property, and represent Johnny and Joey Ramone’s respective estates.

“Ms. Ramone objects to defendants’ attempt to create a Ramones film without her involvement — not to be obstinate, but rather based on defendants’ disregard for [Ramones] assets and their conduct and treatment of Ms. Ramone and her late husband,” Linda’s attorneys wrote. “To permit defendants alone to tell the authoritative story of the Ramones would be an injustice to the band and its legacy.”

As representatives of Johnny and Joey Ramone, who respectively died of different forms of cancer in 2004 and 2001, Linda and Leigh have notably maintained a less than favourable legal relationship over the years. In 2019, the pair settled a long-standing dispute over the use of the ‘Ramone’ name, after Linda changed her surname to Ramone in 2014, illicitly used the Ramone name on social media, and intended to rename her Los Angeles home ‘Ramone Ranch’.


The arbitration resulted in Linda Cummings-Ramone being barred from renaming her home ‘Ramone Ranch’, though she was allowed to name it ‘Johnny Ramone Ranch’ or ‘Linda Ramone Ranch’ instead. Leigh was also barred from obstructing Linda’s attempts to obtain trademarks for the names Johnny Ramone and Linda Ramone.

The Joey Ramone biopic was announced to be co-written by Davidson and directed by his frequent collaborator, Jason Orley. In Netflix’s press release at the time of the film’s announcement, Adam Fogelson, chairman of the film’s production company STXfilms stated: “‘I Slept with Joey Ramone’ is a great rock anthem that will make an equally great rock biopic, set apart by a universal story of family.”