LOS ANGELES (CN) - A filmmaker sued Netflix, accusing it of the "most egregious act ever committed by a film distributor": declining to stream his Christian thriller, "Suing the Devil."
T. Allen Chey sued Netflix in Federal Court. Chey is an attorney as well as a moviemaker.
"It is a well-known fact in Hollywood that independent filmmakers and artists are constantly mistreated, scammed, and abused by film distributors of all sizes," Chey says in the complaint. "This case takes the worst 'Scam-the-Artist' to a new low."
Chey accuses Netflix of "'bait and dump' tactics'" for letting its customers save "Suing The Devil" to their DVD queues when his movie was on limited release in American theaters.
"What 'Save' means on Netflix, is when a film comes out on either DVD or streaming, that customer will get the film when it comes out later in the year," the complaint states.
Chey claims that Netflix used his film to lure subscribers "both old and new," and deprive him of traditional moviegoers, who can wait for Netflix to stream the movie or offer it on DVD.
Claiming he is on a crusade to "protect innocent filmmakers from having to go through what he endured," Chey wants a judge to grant TMZ, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and The Wrap unfettered access to cover his anticipated "obvious and complete victory" in court.
After its limited August 2011 theatrical release, "Suing the Devil" was a hit on Walmart's movie streaming service Vudu, and was distributed through Redbox DVD kiosks, the complaint states.
But Netflix refused to make the title available to its subscribers, Chey says.
He claims Netflix "never intended" to release the movie, and "purposefully and methodically uses the image of a filmmaker's work to bring that customer base in to sell to their own subscription base."
Chey says he was "extremely shocked" when Netflix refused to distribute the movie, and claims the "enormous damages" it caused him are "incalculable at raw glance."
"In the most egregious act ever committed by a film distributor, Netflix caused perhaps hundreds of thousands of potential buyers of the film, 'Suing the Devil' to wait until the film came to Netflix, then Netflix passed on both carrying the DVD and live streaming," the complaint states.
Calling it "the most egregious, humiliating, discriminatory acts" in the history of film distribution, Chey claims he has never seen such "horrific conduct."
"Suing the Devil," starring Malcolm McDowell as Satan, is about a janitor-turned-law student who sues the devil for $8 trillion.
Chey hopes for a more modest $10 million judgment.
He seeks damages for fraud and deceit, intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, copyright infringement, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and interference with prospective business advantage.
Neither Chey nor a Netflix spokesman could immediately be reached for comment.
Chey represents himself.