Former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega, 80, filed a lawsuit in California yesterday against video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc., alleging that Call of Duty: Black Ops II portrays him as "a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state."
In the game, a character that looks like the real Manuel Noriega and is also named Manuel Noriega assists the CIA but then betrays them. In real life, Noriega was a close US ally until the Americans became concerned with the dictator's penchant for using violence against his enemies and citizens. The US dropped ties and invaded Panama in 1989.
Noriega is seeking damages and lost profits, as he claims the use of his character enhanced the game and boosted sales. His legal claim is questionable, however, since he's not an American citizen, according to the BBC.
Noriega is seeking damages and lost profits
The former dictator's claim follows a string of similar lawsuits against video game makers. Lindsay Lohan is suing Rockstar Games over a character in Grand Theft Auto V, Gwen Stefani sued Activision over a character in Band Hero, and Electronic Arts had to pay $40 million to US college and football players whose likenesses were used in games.
Noriega was known for murdering his critics, so his attempted retaliation against Activision is unsurprising. Indeed, dictators often don't appreciate seeing themselves depicted in media they can't control. The lawsuit also comes a few weeks after the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un called The Interview, a film in which Seth Rogen and James Franco attempt to assassinate the North Korean dictator, an "act of war."