Pro wrestler Booker T. Huffman has lost his lawsuit against publisher Activision over the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 character Prophet. Huffman had argued the in-game character looked very, very similar to G.I. Bro, a character from his early wrestling days. However, a jury disagreed.
Huffman’s lawsuit started back in February 2019, when he and his legal team sued Activision. His claim was that Prophet was directly based upon his G.I. Bro character. To prove this claim, Huffman provided a poster of his character compared directly to Prophet from Black Ops 4.
“When seen side-by-side there can be no question that this character was copied from G.I. Bro,” explained Huffman’s lawyer Micah Dortch. “From the hair, body type, and clothing, right down to facial expressions, the similarities are too profound to be an accident.”
Activision’s lawyers pushed back and pointed out, in a motion filed in court, that the image Huffman and his legal team were using as evidence wasn’t original but just a copy of The Rock from “...the neck down.” In court, Huffman argued that the Prophet character was still copying his “facial expression” and his own “attitude.” However, as Activision pointed out in their motion you can’t copyright an attitude. “Plaintiff does not own the idea of an angry man with a scowling look,” said the publisher’s legal team.
The jury agreed with Activision and decided against Huffman. When asked if Activision or the developers of Black Ops 4 had infringed on Huffman’s G.I. Bro character copyright, the answer was a simple “No.”
“We had a lot of confidence that the jury would see things our way, and we’re really happy that they did,” said Activision attorney Daralyn Durie of Durie Tangri in a statement shared with Reuters.
In other wrestlers-suing-game-publishers news, last week the US Supreme Court passed on hearing arguments in the long-running case between Lenwood “Hard Rock” Hamilton and Epic Games over Gears of War character Augustus Cole. In 2017, Hamilton sued Epic and claimed that Cole looked too similar to him, with both characters having wristbands and a gold front tooth. Oddly, the lawsuit came nearly a decade after Cole appeared in the original Gears of War. And now, after two appeals, Hamilton’s lawsuit is dead.
Bad time to be a pro wrestler trying to sue a video game company.