As of Monday this week, Harris Faulkner has officially filed a lawsuit against the multi-million dollar toy company, Hasbro.
The Fox News anchor is suing because Hasbro has created a toy hamster doll with her same name and, according to court documents, her “distinctive persona”. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey.
The Harris Faulkner Hamster Doll is a part of Hasbro’s Littlest Pet Shop line and hit stores in 2014. Once the dolls came to Faulkner’s attention in January she demanded that the company stop using her name. As of July, months after the request, the website was still selling the dolls with her name.
Faulkner is suing for over five million dollars. To cover attorney fees, damages and also to cover any profits Hasbro has made resulting from the Harris Faulkner Hamster Doll.
It seems odd that someone could claim damages from a toy inspired by them, but the court documents explain in detail what Faulkner finds “concerning and distressing” about the whole situation.
- Harris Faulkner is an acclaimed, well-known author and journalist. She has put in great time and effort to build her reputation and personal brand.
- Without Faulkner’s permission, Hasbro created a hamster doll in her likeness and with her name.
- Hasbro has profited from using Faulkner’s name while diminishing her personal reputation.
- The packaging on the doll indicates that Hasbro has a trademark on Harris Faulkner’s name but that is false advertising as they have no claim on her name whatsoever.
- Having her name branded on a Hasbro product implies Faulkner’s association with, and endorsement of the company.
- Faulkner does not endorse any commercial products, “as doing so would be a breach of journalistic ethics, would directly harm her professional credibility, and would be in violation of her contractual obligations to her employer”.
- The toy, being marked as a “Choking Hazard”, worries Faulkner. She is “extremely distressed that her name has been wrongly associated with a plastic toy that is a known choking hazard that risks harming small children”.
- Faulkner finds being represented by a “rodent” to be “demeaning and insulting” and as such has “diminished the value of Faulkner’s name, likeness, identity, and persona”.
- She also finds that this incident has questioned her “journalistic integrity” and “unfairly damage her credibility and her perceived independence”.
Hasbro spokeswoman, Julie Duffy, wouldn’t comment on the legalities of the case but did make a statement about safety related statements in the court documents. The suit outlined that the Littlest Pet Shop dolls were labelled as a choking hazard for young children. In an email to The Post, Duffy clarified and said:
“The Littlest Pet Shop product identified, and all products in the Littlest Pet Shop line, meet and exceed all safety standards.”
It’s all fun and games until it’s not all fun and games!
A toy company having their adorable little animal dolls being called “demeaning rodent(s)” certainly isn’t great advertising, that’s for sure! Hopefully Hasbro can recognize their mistake and avoid this kind of legal dispute in the future.