Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani came out in support of video game company Activision Monday in its legal battle with former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, who is suing the developer for using his likeness in its “Call of Duty” series.
Noriega claims the company used his likeness without his permission in the 2012 game “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” and is seeking millions in compensation. Activision announced Monday that Giuliani’s law firm will represent the company.
“I am outraged that he is seeking millions and millions of dollars that he can take down to a Panamanian prison from a great American company,” Giuliani said in a Monday Associated Press report. “Noriega going after ‘Call of Duty,’ you should think of it as Osama bin Laden’s family going after ‘Zero Dark Thirty.'”
Noriega alleges the company depicted him as a “kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state.”
Giuliani’s firm plans to ask the Los Angeles judge presiding over the case to dismiss it entirely, arguing that considering such a suit could set a precedent for giving historical figures and their families power to control their depictions in popular media. The former mayor and U.S. attorney also said Noriega shouldn’t be allowed to profit from his crimes, which include guilty convictions for murder and drug trafficking.
Giuliani said Activision’s depiction of the former dictator — which appears in less than 1 percent of the game and was not included on any marketing — is covered under the company’s right of Free Speech.
The 80-year-old Noriega is currently serving a 60-year sentence in Panama for corruption, murder and embezzlement.