Manuel Noriega sues Activision over portrayal in Black Ops 2

Former Panama dictator claims his likeness was used for "economic gain" by Activision in the 2012 first-person shooter.

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Activision

Manuel Noriega, the 80-year-old former Panama dictator, has decided his next move should be in the court room.

Noriega on Tuesday sued video game publisher Activision for the "blatant misuse, unlawful exploitation, and misappropriation for economic gain" of his likeness in the 2012 hit Call of Duty: Black Ops II. According to the Los Angeles Times, which obtained a copy of the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Noriega argues he's portrayed as "a kidnapper, murderer, and enemy of the state." All of that, he says, only helped Activision sell more units of its game.

Noriega has a troubled history. He appointed himself military dictator of Panama in 1983 and remained in that post until 1989. For a time he was an ally of the the US government, but he was later removed from power during US military operations in the country. Noriega was eventually charged by the US with several counts of drug trafficking, racketeering, and money laundering and served a US prison sentence until 2007. He now lives in Panama.

Noriega is featured in one section of the Call of Duty title, called "Suffer With Me." In the game, Noriega works alongside the protagonists for a period, he but also turns on them. During the mission, players attempt to track down and capture Noriega.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II was among the most successful titles in the famed game franchise. The game generated $1 billion in revenue after just six weeks of availability, and it went on to become one of the most popular titles among online gamers in the entire Call of Duty world.

Noriega is not the only well-known person included in the game. Former US President John. F. Kennedy and former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara were also featured in the title.

CNET has contacted Activision for comment on the lawsuit. We will update this story when we have more information.

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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