Fox News personality Harris Faulkner is suing the world’s third largest toy maker for $5 million, over the sale and production of an animal toy she feels negatively uses her name and likeness.
Deadline reports Hasbro’s Harris Faulkner Hamster is both “demeaning and insulting,” according to a federal complaint filed this week by the Outnumbered co-host.
Hasbro introduced the toy as part of its Little Pet Shop line in 2014, and attorneys for Faulkner first contacted Hasbro about the product in January of this year. Despite complaints from Faulkner, the company has continued to sell the toy.
The journalist is a “uniquely named, acclaimed veteran journalist and author,” according to her complaint, and has “worked for decades to establish and maintain her personal brand and laudable professional reputation.”
The 15-page complaint adds:
“Hasbro’s manufacture, sale, and distribution of the Harris Faulkner Hamster Doll is extremely concerning and distressing to Faulkner.”
“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. Hasbro’s capitalization on Faulkner’s name, likeness, identity, and persona is underscored with the display of the ‘TM’ symbol after her name and a statement on the back of the packaging that this symbol ‘denote[s] U.S. Trademark’ that—falsely—claims that Hasbro owns a United States trademark in ‘Harris Faulkner.’”
Faulkner has also expressed concerns the toy is a “choking hazard” for children, and her reputation could be negatively affected.
“…Faulkner does not endorse products of any kind, 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,” says the complaint. “This means that Hasbro misappropriated Faulkner’s name, likeness, identity, or persona without consent, for its own profit, for the purpose of capitalizing off of her good name and persona, all at Faulkner’s expense.”
A spokesperson for Hasbro would not comment on the suit, but did take issue with the assertion the toy might be dangerous, telling Deadline products in the Littlest Pet Shop line “meet and exceed all safety standards.”
The Harris Faulkner Hamster has been available on Hasbro’s website all year, but cannot be found as of Wednesday.
Faulkner is seeking $5 million for false endorsement and publicity violations, and wants the company to stop selling the toy. She is also seeking information regarding how much money Hasbro has made from the product.