Marlon Wayans (AKA the junkie Wayans from Requiem For A Dream) is in legal trouble for tweeting a very accurate comparison between an extra on his upcoming film Haunted House 2 and Cleveland Brown from Family Guy.
Apparently, the lawsuit goes beyond just the Cleveland Brown comparison. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Pierre Daniel was fired after complaining that “he was subjected to repeated offensive language about his African-American race.” Here are the details of his lawsuit:
Daniel, represented by attorneys at Reisner & King, cites the tweet in building a case he’s been harassed, discriminated and retaliated against in his employment. But one African-American suing another for discrimination isn’t the only thing that’s eyebrow-raising here. Here’s three more claims made about the tweet above:
- Misappropriation of name and likeness: The lawsuit alleges that Wayans took Daniel’s picture and put it up without consent. But it’s the way that Wayans allegedly gained advantage from doing this that is somewhat novel. According to the complaint, “Wayans’ insertion of ‘@ahhmovie 2’ is a direct reference to the movie, Haunted House 2, thereby providing evidence that this post was used for promotional purposes. Therefore, Defendants gained a commercial benefit by using Plaintiff’s name, likeness, or identity, as they intended to promote/advertise their upcoming movie, The Haunted House 2.”
- Invasion of privacy of false light: This is tantamount to a defamation claim. How is it supported? According to the complaint, “By referencing Plaintiff as Cleveland Brown, the comparison drew inferences of Plaintiff possessing the same traits as Cleveland Brown, including being slow and having physical and emotional problems, thus showing Plaintiff in a false light.”
- Breach of quasi contract: Daniel appears to assert that he posed for the photograph with some expectation that he’d be compensated for his role in the promotion and distribution of the movie. According to the complaint, “As such, an implied-in-law contract (quasi-contract) existed as a result of Defendants’ use of Plaintiff’s photograph to advertise their upcoming movie, Haunted House 2.”
As every stand up comedian knows, the best way to get an easy laugh is to find an audience member and tell him what pop culture character he looks like. (For example, I am usually compared to Screech, Harry Potter, Eminem, and one time someone called me Drake which was either vaguely anti-semitic or an insult to Drake.) Most “this dude looks like…” jokes are pretty terrible and a cheap way to do crowd work, but sometimes the comparison is so dead on that one can’t help but crack up. This is one of those cases. THAT DUDE TOTALLY LOOKS LIKE CLEVELAND BROWN! THEY’VE GOT THE SAME EYES AND FOREHEAD! I understand that in comedy clubs these jokes can cause some audience members to get a little butt-hurt, but as far as I know, no one has ever been litigious enough to sue for it. Yes, tweeting the comparison is probably on more shaky ground legally, but COME ON!! The real crime here is that this tweet only got 11 retweets and 7 favorites. Still, that’s more views than The Cleveland Show ever got. **rimshot**