We know it’s a little hard to believe this is happening, but in this day and age, with what video games are capable of, who says it can’t? Manuel Noriega is suing Activision over using his likeness in the Call of Duty games.
For our readers who don’t know their international politics or recent world history, Noriega was a soldier and politician from Panama. Thanks to the CIA’s involvement, Noriega became that country’s dictator, between 1983 to 1989, until he was deposed and charged of drug trafficking and racketeering by the US government.
Noriega actually finished his US jail term, but due to cases from other countries, he has actually been sent back to Panama to serve twenty years. He now resides in El Renacer prison.
In the game, you can actually play out the US invasion of Panama, leading to Noriega’s capture, in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. So, to be clear, Activision actually brought Noriega in in their storyline for their game, so he may actually have a case to stand on.
I don’t know if this is a cynical or pragmatic move on the former dictator’s part, but Noriega isn’t suing for slander or libel, but lost earnings for what his lawyers call ‘blatant misuse, unlawful exploitation and misappropriation for economic gain.’
In other words, Noriega’s side isn’t suing for any misleading or slanderous depictions of him, but for doing so without his permission, and subsequently giving him his cut.
Activision has yet to comment, but I doubt any kind of settlement will look good on the company’s records, in any context.