Zack Ward, best known for his role as Scut Farkus, the yellow-eyed, fur capped bully in the iconic holiday classic, A Christmas Story (1983), filed a lawsuit against the National Entertainment Collectibles Association. The movie is seen and re-seen by millions annually, running in a back to back marathon airing from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day. Ward, now 42, claims his child image had been produced as part of a 2006 board game based on the film, without his permission. Ward reported only making $5,000 for his role as the tormenting character, and had previously okayed an action figure depicting the Scut Fargus likeness with the NECA, but had not been approached or paid regarding its use for a board game.
Unlike other actors in the movie, Ward was a member of a Canadian actor’s union and his contract did not provide future merchandising rights, clarified ABC News.
Ward claimed the NECA continued to manufacture and sell thousands of the board games, even though they had been expressly told to get preapproval from the actors involved.
CBS News explained that in November 2010 at the annual ‘Christmas Story’ charity fundraiser convention in Cleveland, Ohio, a fan handed Ward the board game. It showed his face on the box and the game’s playing cards.
“I had never been told about this,” Ward said. “I had never been informed about it. I had never seen it before and I was shocked, absolutely shocked.”
Kent Raygor, the attorney for NECA assured ABC News:
“During the course of the litigation, NECA admitted that it owed Ward some back royalties based on other Scut Farkus uses in an action figure, and had always offered to pay those to Ward.”