Fox News Anchor Settles With Toy Manufacturer For $5 Million
By Andre Jones
Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner, has settled a $5 million dollar lawsuit with toy manufacturer, Hasbro over a product that she alleged used her name and likeness without permission.
The six time Emmy award winning Faulkner sued Hasbro in September of 2015 after Hasbro released a toy hamster from their Littlest Pet Shop line. The hamster’s name? Harris Faulkner.
Faulkner’s lawyer wrote, “By its unlawful actions, Hasbro has implied — falsely — Faulkner’s association with, approval, and endorsement of Hasbro and/or the Harris Faulkner Hamster Doll and has violated Faulkner’s right to control the use of her name and likeness,” according to documents filed at the U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey, asserting that Hasbro “willfully and wrongfully appropriated Faulkner’s unique and valuable name and distinctive persona for its own financial gain”
The suit went on to explain, “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,” calling the alleged portrayal “demeaning and insulting.”
Initially Hasbro sought to have the case thrown out of court, contending that the name was irrelevant. “A side-by-side comparison of Ms. Faulkner and the Hamster Toy shows that the two bear absolutely no resemblance,” Hasbro wrote in a 37-page court document. The document, presented at a December 2015 hearing, admonished the court, “The Court should not accept Plaintiff’s opinion that the inch-tall hamster toy bears Ms. Faulkner’s resemblance, but instead must conduct its own comparison to determine whether the allegations are plausible as a matter of law.”
Faulkner, anchor of Fox Report Weekend and co-anchor of Outnumbered, also expressed her displeasure with her name being associated with a toy that is clearly labeled as a choking hazard, to which Hasbro replied to TheWrap, “While we generally do not comment on litigation matters, it is critically important to correct a false statement made by Ms. Harris in the complaint regarding the safety of the product.”
In regards to the terms of settlement, neither Faulkner nor Hasbro gave any details, but issued a joint statement saying that it was “settled amicably”. Both parties filed papers this past Wednesday requesting that a judge dismiss the lawsuit. The statement went on to say, “The ‘Harris Faulkner’ toy is no longer manufactured or sold by Hasbro. However, since there still may be ‘Harris Faulkner’ toys or packaging with the ‘Harris Faulkner’ name in the stream of commerce, Ms. Faulkner reiterates that she has not endorsed or approved this product.”