Jesse Ventura laments declining popularity, difficulty finding work
Jesse said Kyle's book is the worst thing that's ever happened to him. (But what about that whole "hunting man" thing?)
Iraq war vet and best-selling author Christopher Kyle was gunned down by a fellow veteran in a tragic incident on a shooting range last February. But that didn't stop Jesse Ventura from proceeding with a defamation lawsuit he'd filed against Kyle and his estate.
In his book, Kyle described an incident that took placed at a California bar in 2006. He writes that he punched out a "celebrity" he calls "scruff face" because he was loudly and rudely denigrating the Navy SEALs, President George W. Bush, and U.S. foreign policy. ("Scruff face" bears an uncanny resemblance to Ventura in a number of respects.) Kyle writes that when he took issue, "Scruff face" allegedly told him, "You deserve to lose a few." Things got physical from there and Scruff ultimately "went down," Kyle writes.
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Ventura says "Scruff face" was clearly a reference to him and maintains the entire incident was a product of Kyle's imagination. And in a newly released deposition, Ventura says one of the main things that motivated him to sue is that Kyle's book made him less popular with the media and with his fellow veterans.
Ventura sat for the deposition last November, a few months before Kyle's death.
"Every day of my life, I walk around looking over my shoulder now, wondering who believes that and who doesn't," Ventura said, under oath. "It's constant. Can I name anything? No. It -- but it's a constant. It goes on all the time ... where I think to myself, 'Does this person -- did this person read this book, did this person hear this fictional tale, does this person believe I'm a traitor to the United States of America and to the military because of what was written in this book?"
Regarding interview and book offers, Ventura said he "never had to really go out seeking anything until very recently... Usually, it came to me. But within the last year, they ain't been coming."
Ventura's testimony also shed light on a number of interesting biographical questions. Here, via a Pioneer Press report, are some snippets:
On whether he'd actually read Kyle's book: "I don't like to read fiction."
On what actually happened at that California bar: "Nothing happened."
On how his life has changed since Kyle's book was released: "It's affected me emotionally; it's affected me how -- how I feel now how I'll be perceived by the rest of the military, how I could be perceived by them, that I'm some sort of traitor to the Teams... There's nothing worse you could do to one of us than what he did to me. Nothing.
"It's not fun at all. It's the worst thing that's ever happened to me."
On one passage that particularly bothered him: "To be -- to be -- to have it said that I wished death upon the United States military from which I come from, from which my mother and father and everyone in my family is a veteran -- not many people can say their mom and dad are both World War II veterans. I can. Everyone in my immediate family has served their country in the military.
"And for him to say that I wished death upon any facet of our military is unconscionable and it's the worst thing that's been done to me in my 35-year professional career, which includes being a villain in professional wrestling where it was my job to make people angry with me,"
On whether he was involved in any classified missions that could've caused an international incident during Vietnam: "Once." [The next three lines of testimony are covered with a large REDACTED stamp -- damn!]
On the year he spent as a guest lecturer at Harvard: "I had the largest classes in Harvard history... I was kind of like Rodney in 'Back to School,'"
On whether, at 62, he'd considering returning to the wrestling ring or the announcing booth for Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Entertainment: "You don't know what you're going to get with Vince... I mean, there's guys wrestling for him that are older than me."
Want more Jesse in your life? Click to page two to read the court filing containing all of his testimony:
-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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