An ex-dictator is pulling a Lindsay Lohan from jail. Manuel Noriega, the former military dictator of Panama between 1983 and 1989, is suing Activision over his likeness appearing in 2012’s wildly successful game “Call of Duty: Black Ops”. Eighty-year-old Noriega filed his lawsuit Tuesday in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. He is suing for damages as well as lost profits.
Noriega in the game is actually named Manuel Noriega and does look pretty similar to the real-life man who is currently serving out a 20-year sentence in Panama.
In the game, Noriega is depicted as a “kidnapper, murderer, and enemy of the state.” He’s often the antagonist and is usually the evil-doer behind many “fictional heinous crimes.”
The lawsuit alleges that the game used his likeness “In an effort to increase the popularity and revenue generated by Black Ops II, defendants used, without authorization or consent, the image and likeness of plaintiff in Black Ops II.”
He says that because he appears in the game and his likeness commits these crimes, it gives the appearance that he approved of his inclusion in the game and that resulted in the company making money it would not have made otherwise. The heightened realism in the game, which also includes Avenged Sevenfold band members, John F Kennedy and Robert McNamara, he says lead to increased game sales.
But the trouble with the suit, as IGN noted, is that Noriega isn’t a U.S. citizen. This means he may not be entitled to the right to publicity, which gives people the ability to control how they are portrayed in video games. It has happened before that the U.S. will extend out the right of privacy to foreigners, but we’ll see how it falls in this case.
Working against him is the fact that he has plenty of crimes he actually did commit, or at least was found guilty of, including money laundering, murder and running a corrupt regime, for which he was overthrown by the U.S. in 1989.
Plus, if the game has been out for two years, what’s taken him so long to file the suit? It sounds like he’s just a little money-hungry and trying to get what he can in the time he has left.