Remember the news that former Panamanian Dictator sued Activision for his depiction in Call of Duty: Black Ops II? The publisher fired back Monday with a motion to dismiss the “frivolous lawsuit,” calling it “absurd.” Interestingly, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has joined Activision’s side.
Noriega was depicted in a flashback mission in Call of Duty: Black Ops II. The dictator is tracked and captured by the game’s characters Alex Mason and Frank Woods as part of a CIA mission. The scene from the game depicting the dictator convicted of drug trafficking, racketeering, and money laundering can be seen below, courtesy of AGB.
In the original lawsuit, the 80-year old Noriega’s lawyers claimed, “Defendants’ use of plaintiff’s image and likeness caused damage to plaintiff. Plaintiff was portrayed as an antagonist and portrayed as the culprit of numerous fictional heinous crimes, creating the false impression that defendants are authorized to use plaintiff’s image and likeness. This caused plaintiffs to receive profits they would not have otherwise received.”
The lawsuit by the imprisoned Noriega was originally filed in July. Activision spent the last two months putting together its case and filed for its dismissal in the Superior Court of the State of California. It seeks to use the state’s anti-SLAPP statue that is intended to protect freedom of speech against spurious lawsuits.
Call of Duty Publisher Activision Moves to Dismiss Former Military Dictator Manuel Noriega’s Absurd Lawsuit http://t.co/CwGbo5Ulkv
— Activision (ACTI) PR (@ACTI_PR) September 22, 2014
“What’s astonishing is that Manuel Noriega, a notorious dictator who is in prison for the heinous crimes he committed, is upset about being portrayed as a criminal and enemy of the state in the game Call of Duty. Quite simply, it’s absurd,” Giuliani wrote in an Activision press release.
“I’m not interested in giving handouts to a convicted murderer and drug smuggler like Manuel Noriega who is demanding money from Activision and its popular Call of Duty franchise for simply exercising its right to free speech. Noriega’s attack on the rights of Call of Duty comes as no surprise considering he’s a lawless tyrant who trampled over the rights of his own people.”
The press release goes on to say, “If successful, Noriega’s efforts would give numerous historical and political figures – and their heirs – a veto right over their appearances in works of art, having a chilling effect on movies such as Forrest Gump and Zero Dark Thirty, TV shows such as Saturday Night Live and Boardwalk Empire, and beloved books such as Primary Colors and The Paris Wife, just to name a few.”
The two Call of Duty: Black Ops franchise games are known for using political figures in their games. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon have made appearances along with Robert McNamara, and Fidel Castro.
Do you think Activision will be successful in having Noriega’s lawsuit dismissed? Let us know in the comments below.
[Images via Call of Duty: Black Ops II, YouTube]