Disney and Pixar sued over Keanu Reeves' Toy Story 4 character Duke Caboom
Disney and Pixar are being sued by the son of famous stunt performer Evel Knievel over claims of improperly basing Keanu Reeves' Toy Story 4 Duke Caboom on him.
A federal trademark infringement lawsuit alleges that the motorcycle-riding toy character was intentionally based on Evel.
Son Kelly Knievel – who has held the publicity rights to his father's name since 1998 – has accused the filmmakers of never seeking permission to use Evel's likeness (via Hollywood Reporter).
The famous real-life stuntman did a number of well-publicised stunts, including jumps over the Caesars Palace fountain in Las Vegas, and was injured a number of times over his career. He passed away in 2007.
"Evel Knievel did not thrill millions around the world, break his bones and spill his blood just so Disney could make a bunch of money," Kelly said in a statement.
He is suing for unspecified damages totalling more than $300,000 over allegations of unjust enrichment and false endorsement.
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The lawsuit claims that consumers and reviewers "universally caught on to the connection," and that the movie company and Reeves avoided making any public association, connection or comparison "even if directly asked".
The suit highlights the description of Caboom as a 70s motorcycle-racing toy and "Canada's greatest stuntman", and also includes side-by-side photos of the character and Evel.
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It also notes an Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle toy released in 1973 that wears a white helmet and jumpsuit with red, white and blue embellishments on a motorcycle with a wind-up device.
The suit adds that Disney released a similar Caboom toy in conjunction with Toy Story 4, which featured in McDonald's Happy Meals.
Disney said in a statement from corporate spokesman Jeffrey R. Epstein that it will defend itself vigorously from what it described as meritless claims.
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