Fox News Anchor vs. Hasbro: Harris Faulkner Sues Over Toy “Namesake”
Harris Faulkner, an anchor for the show “Fox Report Weekend” and a cohost for “Fox Outnumbered” is suing toy producer Hasbro. She is claiming that a small toy hamster that Hasbro has also named “Harris Faulkner” is based on her, and wants five million dollars for the trouble.
Faulkner claims that the toy, which is part of Hasbro’s “Littlest Pet Shop” line, used her name, appropriated her on-air appearance and persona, and represented her as a rodent, which was “demeaning.” The lawsuit filed by her team states to this effect:
In addition to its prominent and unauthorized use of Faulkner’s name, elements of the Harris Faulkner Hamster Doll also bear a physical resemblance to Faulkner’s traditional professional appearance, in particular tone of its complexion, the shape of its eyes, and the design of its eye makeup.
Here are a couple pictures of Harris Faulkner the human and Harris Faulkner the toy hamster side-by-side for your own comparison purposes:
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) September 2, 2015
The Littlest Pet Shop line includes a number of small animal figures, many of them with anthropomorphized features. They also connect to online accounts where a child can interact with other characters. Naturally, as they are part of a Hasbro line, they are trademarked. But Faulkner the human also takes issue with that, as she believes it falsely indicates a trademark made in her name. The lawsuit filed by Faulkner’s team states:
By its unlawful actions, Hasbro has implied—falsely—Faulkner’s association with, approval, and endorsement of Hasbro and/or the Harris Faulkner Hamster Doll and has violated Faulkner’s right to control the use of her name and likeness.
According to the lawsuit, Faulkner also objects to the fact that she’s being associated with a small plastic toy that could be considered a choking hazard:
Faulkner 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.
According to Faulkner the “substantial commercial and emotional damage” that has been inflicted upon her by Hasbro’s actions should leave her with a payout of five million dollars.
The entire case is a bit odd–while it seems strange that Hasbro would name a hamster “Harris Faulkner” all of them have kind of weird names. For example, the figure that Harris Faulkner appears to be usually sold with is a Yorkie Terrier character named “Benson Detwyler.” There’s also “Alistair Royal,” a corgi, “Gerry Goldman” a gerbil, and “Roxy Reddington,” a fox, among others. While Hasbro executives probably should have Googled the name “Harris Faulkner” before they emblazoned it on a toy hamster, it also seems farfetched that the company would have chosen a Fox News anchor as a namesake. Either way, Hasbro may now have to pay for the use of the name, whether intentional or not.