Words: Chloe Watts
Disney has found itself in hot water recently after a lawsuit was filed over the depiction of one of its characters in Toy Story 4. Duke Caboom, the death-defying stunt toy voice by Keanu Reeves is the subject of the lawsuit initiated by K&K Promotions.
President of K&K Promotions Kelly Knievel filed a trade-mark infringement in Las Vegas accusing Disney of basing Duke Caboom off of his father, legendary stuntman Evel Knievel but failed to provide recognition. The lawsuit states “Defendants have used in commerce, and continue to use in commerce, the likeness, reputation, and image of Evel Knievel in the film ‘Toy Story 4’ through Defendants’ depiction of Duke Caboom, and has exploited the same connection through marketing, promotion, advertising, and sales of ‘Toy Story 4,’ and in connection with the manufacturing, distribution, marketing, advertising, promotion, and sales of the Duke Caboom action figure, all without the consent or approval of K&K.”
Evel Knievel rose to popularity in the ’60s and ’70s for his terrifying, death-defying motorbike stunts. Which famously included jumping over Caesars Palace fountain in Las Vegas.
K&K Promotions has held the rights to Evel Knievel sine 1978 and is seeking damages of more than $300,000 for false endorsement. The lawsuit draws comparison between the physical appearance of Knievel and Duke Caboom and states a stunt toy sold to market the movie was very similar to one of Evel Knievel sold in 1973.
Disney has come out saying they will defend itself vigorously against the claims.