Actor Todd Duffey, better known as Brian the annoying “flair guy” who worked with Jennifer Aniston at the fictional Chotchkie’s in 1999’s Office Space, has lost a lawsuit against 20th Century Fox for what he felt was unjust use of his image.
A judge dismissed the case which involved a spin-off product from the movie called the Office Space Box of Flare, which included “fifteen flair buttons printed with fun sayings and designs, and a 32-page book that recalls the many hilarious moments in the film.” Duffey had been seeking seeking damages, attorney’s fees and “destruction of the allegedly illegal flair“ that featured his likeness.
Unfortunately for Duffey, when he agreed to his “Office Space” role, he signed a “Day Player Agreement” with the movie’s production company, which granted the firm “all rights throughout the universe” (yes, that is the legal usage) to his performance, “including the right to use pictures from his performance for commercial purposes,” US district court judge J. Paul Oetken wrote in a decision issued on March 27.
“There is only one reasonable way to read the relevant terms: Duffey granted Cubicle all rights to 17 images of his performance in Office Space, including the right to use his image on Office Space merchandise,” the judge concluded, dismissing the lawsuit.
This is normally about the point where I’d make a crappy joke, but I actually feel for the guy. Duffey penned a piece for LA Weekly last year about what it’s like to be the Office Space guy, and although he doesn’t come off overwhelmingly bitter about it — it seems like it’s hurt him more than it’s helped.
Other than landing minor acting roles here and there, (most of which want him to “play the waiter”) he’s even lost catering gigs because of the “distraction” he causes just by being him. I have friends who are struggling actors and I know how hard it can be even when you don’t have some ubiquitous minor role hanging over your head like a storm cloud raining piss, so I can absolutely see why he wouldn’t want his face on some stupid buttons.