Former Panama Dictator Suing Activision Over Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Posted by Joseph Lee on 07.16.2014
He doesn't like how he was portrayed...
The Los Angeles Times reports that former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega is suing Activision Blizzard Inc over the use of his name and likeness in Call of Duty: Black Ops II. He claims that the game depicts him as "a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state", which was done to "to heighten realism in its game," which "translates directly into heightened sales" for Activision. He wants lost profits and damages. Activision Blizzard currently has a market capitalization of $16.3 billion from their various video games, but Call of Duty is one of their most popular.
The US ended Noriega's military dictatorship in 1989 with an invasion of Panama. He went to a US prison for two decades on drug trafficking charges and has lived in Panama since 2011. He was an ally of the US government at one point.
This isn't the first lawsuit to target a video game company. Lindsay Lohan sued the makers of Grand Theft Auto V for using her likeness without her permission. A group of college athletes received a $40 million settlement with Electronic Arts for using their likenesses in NCAA-branded games.
Black Ops II was released in November 2012 and earned over a billion in sales in only two weeks. In the game, Noriega helps to capture the game's villain before he switches allegiance. The game was previously criticized because it featured a character that looked like former US General David Petraeus, who left his job as the director of the CIA after it was revealed he had an affair. Activision denied that Patraeus was paid, "was not involved in the creation of the game" and that "it is clear to game players that his character and others that are based on real-life figures are fantasy."