Yesterday's collision of a presidential election and major Hollywood franchise was, unsurprisingly, not entirely free from legal disputes. According to The Daily Beast, Back to the Future series writer Bob Gale wants a super PAC supporting Republican candidate Carly Fiorina to take down some quasi-parody videos that cut a little too close to the real thing.
Pretty much every political cause managed to work up a Back to the Future II-related promotion yesterday, in honor of the date that Marty McFly visits when he travels forward in time. Super PAC Carly for America's 102115.com, though, took things a step further by creating a series of short videos in which an off-brand version of Christopher Lloyd's character Doc Brown exhorts "Marty" to help save the future from drones, hoverboard bans, and Hillary Clinton's campaign logo.
"We have been living in an alternate reality where America no longer leads."
The videos are fairly low-profile and have a distinct "viral video" feel: they're unlisted on YouTube and accessible only through the website. But there's no plausible deniability about their source material — the site is all but explicitly recruiting Back to the Future characters to ask you to vote Republican. And that doesn't sit well with Gale. "It’s our position that the BTTF characters and IP should NEVER be associated with ANY politician, ANY campaign, or ANY political issue," he tells The Daily Beast. He's reportedly instructed Universal Studios to send the campaign a cease and desist letter, although the videos are still online a day later.
Musicians frequently end up fighting politicians who want to use their songs, but especially as election campaigns ask candidates to spend more and more time talking about pop culture — one of the latest gaffes involves Jeb Bush naming Batman as his favorite Marvel superhero — there's also a fine line between paying homage to an iconic franchise and ripping it off. Asked for comment by The Daily Beast, Carly for America communications director Katie Hughes revealed only that she had been sent by resistance fighters from the future to promote the campaign of the former Hewlett-Packard CEO.
"We have been living in an alternate reality where America no longer leads and families across the country are struggling to make ends meet. It's time for Americans to imagine what is possible again," she said. "It will take a leader who can deliver like Carly Fiorina to bring our government into the future. We need Carly Fiorina to change the course of history and bring us back to a future of strength and prosperity."
No, seriously, that's the real quote.
Update October 22nd, 7:30PM ET: Reworded to clarify separation between Carly Fiorina and the super PAC Carly for America.
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