Producers of the long-running Sesame Street have filed a lawsuit against Melissa McCarthy’s upcoming movie the Happytime Murders. The movie has been stirring up controversy on social media as the trailer depicted muppet-like puppets engaging in behavior described as lewd, crude, and obscene. Parents have responded with great concern that their children will think the R-rated movie is something they should watch. Producers for Sesame Street Workshop filed the lawsuit on grounds the movie used their name in the tagline without permission. They conclude this tarnishes and diminishes the child-friendly brand and violates their trademark.
Sesame Street is also concerned that STX Entertainment, the distribution company behind The Happytime Murders hasn’t done enough to clarify that the movie is not associated with Sesame Street. Some people have left comments on social media indicating their confusion about who was behind the film and mistakenly believed Sesame Street endorsed the film.
The Happytime Murders uses the tagline “No Sesame, All Street.” According to the lawsuit, STX Entertainment didn’t get approval from Sesame Street to use their name.
Along with Melissa McCarthy, The Happytime Murders’ cast includes Elizabeth Banks, Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, Jimmy O. Yang, and Leslie David Baker.
According to the lawsuit, Sesame Street Workshop believes the trailer brings damage to the Sesame Street brand and trademark by displaying “explicit, profane, drug-using, misogynistic, violent, copulating, and even ejaculating puppets.”
The movie is described as being a filthy comedy and creator of the original Muppets, Jim Henson’s son Brian Henson directs it.
Sesame Street Workshop grew increasingly concerned after the official trailer’s release that uses Sesame Street in the opening tagline and began receiving reports of people who were confused. Some thought Sesame Street was behind the movie. The lawsuit is based on trademark infringement and Sesame Street Workshop asks that STX halt promotion of the movie until the trademark issues is settled.
Though Sesame Street Workshop has filed their lawsuit, they aren’t the only ones turning to legal action. STX filed a response to the lawsuit and chose one of their puppets as legal representation.
The Happytime Murders is set for an August 17, 2018 release. Did you see the trailer for the movie? Do you agree with the lawsuit?