Fox News Anchor's Suit Over Toy Hamster Likeness Results In Hilarious Point-By-Point Hasbro Rebuttal
from the rats dept
Okay, damn it, fine, let’s talk about Harris Faulkner and her insane likeness rights lawsuit against Hasbro over a toy hamster. I’ve been avoiding this stupidity since September, when the lawsuit was filed, because how do you even broach a topic like a cable news anchor suing a toy company over a tiny little inanimate hamster? In any case, Harris Faulkner, an award winning Fox News anchor, sued Hasbro over its “Harris Faulkner” hamster, alleging that the toy not only shared her name, but was an appropriation of her “unique and valuable name and distinctive persona.” Her lawsuit, in fact, spends a great deal of time making sweet love to Faulkner’s awesomeness for reasons I can’t even begin to understand.
In her time at FNC, Faulkner has covered many major news stories. She has anchored key moments of FNC’s political coverage, including the 2013 government shutdown, the 2013 State of the Union Address, the 2012 vice presidential debate, and the 2012 election night. She has also reported on significant international news events, including the fall of Tripoli in 2011 and the death of North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il, as well as some of the most significant domestic news in recent memory, from the death of Whitney Houston, to the trial of George Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin, and the Emanuel A.M.E. Church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.
Hopefully lawyers for Hasbro will be willing to stipulate that Harris Faulkner is indeed the cat’s pajamas. The problem is that, other than sharing the not-really-super-unique name Harris Faulkner, the tiny toy hamster doesn’t share any of the likenesses that Faulkner has alleged.
Yeah, one of them is a lovely looking woman news anchor and the other is a hamster. That, combined with the absurdity of the idea that Hasbro was somehow marketing toy hamsters to Fox News loving tots really should be all that’s necessary to understand how silly this all is. We don’t really need to write out a blow by blow explanation of how Faulkner and this toy hamster aren’t similar, do we? No, we don’t, because Hasbro chose to do it for us in their response.
“First, Ms. Faulkner is an adult, African-American, human, female newscaster; the Hamster Toy is an inch-tall, cartoon-like plastic animal, which has no apparent gender or profession, or even clothing that might identify its gender or profession,” Hasbro responds. “Second, contrary to Plaintiff’s allegation, the Hamster Toy does not have the same ‘complexion’ as Ms. Faulkner,” continues Hasbro. “The animal depicted by the Hamster Toy has ‘fur’ (not skin), which is golden yellow, a wisp of ‘hair’ that is medium-brown, a pink nose,and a muzzle that is white. Third, despite Plaintiff’s claim, neither the ‘shape’ of the Hamster Toy’s eyes, nor the ‘design of its eye makeup’ misappropriate Ms. Faulkner’s likeness,” Hasbro puts forth. “Ms. Faulkner has brown, almond-shaped eyes; the Hamster Toy has large, circular blue eyes.”
Hasbro also asked the court to note that identical names aren’t enough on their own to cause a valid publicity rights violation, so this whole thing comes down to whether Faulkner and the hamster are similar in appearance. Which they aren’t. At all. As lovingly detailed above in one of the most absurdly awesome court rebuttals I’ve ever seen. However, Faulkner gets a chance to respond to Hasbro’s response, which at this point I sincerely hope she does, because I want to see what her legal team comes up with next.
Publicity rights, man. They provide such entertainment.