Former dictator of Panama, Manuel Noriega, filed a lawsuit against Activision last July over his depiction in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Today, in a press release, Activision has moved to dismiss the "absurd" lawsuit on grounds of free speech. As if having an 80-year old former military dictator and a major video game publisher involved weren't enough, former New York City Mayor and U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani (named partner of Bracewell and Giuliani LLP) is serving as co-counsel to defend Activision against Noriega's claims.
A motion to dismiss was filed this morning in the Superior Court of the State of California, which seeks to completely dismiss Noriega's complaint under California's anti-SLAPP statute, which is a state provision enacted to protect freedom of speech against spurious lawsuits. The legal document can be found here.
In a public statement for Activision, Giuliani calls the suit "absurd." The statement concludes with, "Noriega's attack on the rights of Call of Duty comes as no surprise considering he's a lawless tyrant who trampled over the rights of his own people."
An excerpt from the statement is as follows:
"What's astonishing is that Manuel Noriega, a notorious dictator who is in prison for the heinous crimes he committed, is upset about being portrayed as a criminal and enemy of the state in the game Call of Duty. Quite simply, it's absurd. I'm not interested in giving handouts to a convicted murderer and drug smuggler like Manuel Noriega who is demanding money from Activision and its popular Call of Duty franchise for simply exercising its right to free speech. Noriega's attack on the rights of Call of Duty comes as no surprise considering he's a lawless tyrant who trampled over the rights of his own people."
The move to dismiss could be seen coming as soon as Noriega filed his complaint, but maybe the imprisoned former dictator doesn't get out much.