Back in July, former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega slapped Activision with a lawsuit over Call of Duty: Black Ops II. The reason? His likeness was used without permission, and he was shown committing “numerous fictional heinous crimes”, which apparently tarnished his reputation.
So says the lawsuit, which was detailed this past summer. Noriega is 80 and currently serving a jail sentence in Panama. The hearing is set for October 16 in Los Angeles, with Activision arguing on the basis of artistic rights to show historical figures.
As part of its legal battle, Activision has ushered in Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, who will discuss the larger potential issue that could result from a ruling in Noriega’s favor. “It would destroy, to a very, very large extent, the creative genre that is historic fiction.”
The reason is that such figures (and their heirs) could withhold their consent or demand payment for depictions in various works, including groups like ISIS and individuals like Bashar Assad. Activision, not surprisingly, is seeking dismissal.