Activision wants to dismiss former Panamanian dictator’s lawsuit
Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, who is currently serving a prison sentence for drug trafficking, money laundering and killing political opponents, has filed a lawsuit against Activision. Apparently, the dictator is not happy about his portrayal in the company’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” game, stating that it has damaged his reputation. Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that the company used his image and name to make money and therefore he is entitled to a share of the profits.
Noriega doesn’t like the fact that, in Call of Duty Black Ops II, he is portrayed as a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state. The irony here is that his portrayal in the game is very accurate, fact demonstrated by the fact that he is currently in prison exactly for these crimes. In other words, his reputation couldn’t have been damaged since he was already known as a criminal before the game came out. Anyway, Activision filed a motion to dismiss this lawsuit, calling it frivolous and arguing that Manuel Noriega’s portrayal in the game is protected by The First Amendment.
Activision’s attorney, none other than the famous former New Yorrk City mayor, Rudy Giuliani, also agrees that this lawsuit is ridiculous. He portrays Noriega as a notorius dictator who attacks Activision-Blizzard’s freedom of speech. Furthermore, Giuliani compares this situation to the fictional scenario of Osama Bin Laden’s family suing for the “Zero Dark Thirty” movie, which depicts the terrorist being eliminated by the US military.
Initially, this whole situation might seem a little funny because of the irony and contrasts presented. However, it is and it should be taken as a serious matter. While freedom of expression is important, maybe Activision did exaggerate a little with Noriega’s portrayal. In any case, the court’s decision will tell which side is right. The lawsuit was filed in July 2014, while Activision’s motion was filed only yesterday. There is no information available at the time of writing regarding when the case will be judged.