Call of Duty: Black Ops II made some questionable marketing choices, but it deserves credit for admitting that perhaps selling weapons to homicidal drug lords was not the best foreign policy decision America ever made. And to make that point, it used real, awful figures like Manuel Noriega, who is now suing because he’s very, very upset that somebody might get the right impression about him.
Now 80 and residing in a prison in Panama, Noriega is seeking damages from game publisher Activision Blizzard for portraying him as “a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state” in Call of Duty: Black Ops II. In the game, which sold more than 24 million copies worldwide, a character called Manuel Noriega reneges on a deal with the CIA, betrays the main playable characters and indiscriminately shoots members of his “own private police force” – the army of Panama.
Keep in mind that Noriega is serving what amounts to a life sentence in Panama after serving time in American and French prisons for, uh, murdering people, racketeering, money laundering, and various drug offenses. And that’s just what the various jurisdictions that have packed him off to jail can prove in court; it’s pretty safe to say Manuel Noriega was one of the worst things to happen to the citizenry of Panama.
Also, there’s the fact that Noriega is a public figure, and thus doesn’t have the same protections as a private citizen. So, yeah, somehow, we think this lawsuit won’t get very far, but at least the judge will get a laugh out of it.