Former Dictator Manuel Noriega Sues Activision Over Black Ops II Appearance

by Mike Futter on Jul 16, 2014 at 07:25 AM

In Activision’s 2012 Call of Duty: Black Ops II, players encounter former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega a number of times during flashback missions. The now-imprisoned former leader has taken offense to his inclusion and is currently suing Activision.

Noriega is suing for lost profits from prison in Panama, where he is serving 20 years for crimes committed during his time in power. This is after 17 years in a United States federal detention facility and conviction in France, as well.

Noriega claims that he was deprived of profits from the use of his likeness. He additionally claims that his inclusion translated to improved sales of Black Ops II.

We’ve reached out to Activision for comment and will update should we receive a response.

[Source: Courthouse News Service, Image: Call of Duty Wikia]

Our Take
In order for Noriega’s suit to be successful in a United States court, he will need to prove “actual malice.” Since he’s a public figure, Noriega will need to show that the intent of his inclusion was to do him direct harm. 

In order for his presence in Black Ops II to be considered defamation, Noriega’s attorneys would likely need to convince a court that the fictional account exposed him to hatred, ridicule, or contempt. In other words, his inclusion in the fictional material would likely need to be shown to diminish his reputation more than being a murdering drug peddler. Honestly, I had forgotten he was even in the game.

It’s unlikely that Noriega will succeed, but if Lindsay Lohan is going to take a run at Rockstar and Take-Two, I suppose a convicted murderer going after Activision’s biggest franchise isn’t too surprising.