Manuel Noriega
(Real-life Manny vs. Call of Duty Manny)

I must repeat this Theophilus London album title at least 6-7 times a week, but it always fits….Timez Are Weird These Days.
Like today, as the New York Times reports that Noriega is suing Activision over the videogame Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
Wait…Noriega?


No, we’re not talking about Noreaga of Capone-N-Noreaga, suing over debilitating carpel-tunnel syndrome caused by a marathon Black Ops tournament played against Soulja Boy streamed over Twitch.
And no, we’re not talking about “the real noriega” as in Rick Ross‘ imaginary jail friend from “Hustlin'” (“I know Pablo, Noriega, the real Noriega…“).
This is the real real really real real Noriega. Manuel Noriega, the infamous deposed military dictator of Panama who has been in prison in the US, France and now Panama since 1990 for crimes against humanity, murder, drug trafficking, money laundering, and racketeering. But even behind bars, Manny still isn’t going to let Activision get away with using his likeness on Call of Duty: Black Ops II.

Mr. Noriega…filed his suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court, claiming that Activision Blizzard, the developer of the video game, portrayed him as a “kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state,” according to the suit. Mr. Noriega, 80, is seeking lost profits as well as damages.

How dare they portray him as a murderer, enemy of the state, ok fine, kidnapper! The outrage!

The Times notes that some recent lawsuits against videogame-makers have been successfully argued on the “right of publicity.” Lindsay Lohan vs. Grand Theft Auto 5. Gwen Stefani and No Doubt vs. Band Hero. And a group of college athletes won $40 million from E.A. Sports. But does Noriega deserve a $40 mill bump on his commissary?

“The question is whether the courts will go beyond procedural issues and decide whether someone who has been convicted of heinous acts should have a right of publicity at all,” [said NYT’s legal expert Kim J. Landsman], adding that he thought Mr. Noriega’s chances were “very slim.”
“If California is going to bend over backward to help a plaintiff, it shouldn’t be this guy,” he said.

Yeah, seriously. Unless that settlement money goes to charity.

Manuel Noriega in Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Manuel Noriega in Panama

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