Harris Faulkner, a six-time Emmy winner and famous Fox News anchor, is suing Hasbro over a toy hamster that shares the same name and likeness. Hasbro is a multinational toy company, responsible for creating famous products such as G.I. Joe and Mr. Potato Head. The product is called the “Harris Faulkner toy hamster”, much to the displeasure of the Fox News host and her attorneys. Faulkner’s attorneys say Hasbro is guilty of false endorsement, unfair competition and violating the anchor’s rights of publicity.
Faulkner claims she brought up the matter with Hasbro earlier this year, but was met with silence. Court documents allege the toy company created a product with the name and physical resemblance of Faulkner, including the eye shape, makeup and complexion.
Documents also call the portrayal of Faulkner as a furry little rodent “demeaning”. The allegations could have serious repercussions on the career of a world-famous journalist, who must be taken seriously by her audience. Faulkner and her attorneys are seeking $5 million in damages. If successful, the lawsuit would grant Faulkner the ability to seize profits from the sale of the hamster.
Faulkner hosts the shows Outnumbered and Fox Report Weekend.
Rights of publicity fall under intellectual property rights, as journalists and other well-known media celebrities represent established personalities. When another party violates rights of publicity, they are using another person’s name, likeness or image without consent. In some cases, these violations can damage people financially and hurt their reputations.
Hasbro put themselves in a bad position by taking such a unique name, and then ignoring the requests of Faulkner to cease and desist. In cases like this, it helps to have experienced business litigators defend your intellectual property rights.
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