The guy who gave Mike Tyson his totally-awesome face tattoo is suing The Hangover 2 for using his design without permission, calling the tribal whatsit he gave Tyson usurped by Ed Helms in the movie “one of the most distinctive tattoos in the nation.” No word on whether he also invented the barbed wire arm band and the piano key necktie.
S. Victor Whitmill, an award-winning tattoo artist who calls the Tyson design “one of the most distinctive tattoos in the nation,” is asking for an injunction to stop the release of the highly-anticipated comedy sequel, set to bow in the U.S. over Memorial Day weekend.
“When Mr. Whitmill created the Original Tattoo, Mr Tyson agreed that Mr. Whitmill would own the artwork and thus, the copyright in the Original Tattoo,” argues the complaint, filed Thursday in federal court in Missouri and obtained by THR. “Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. — without attempting to contact Mr. Whitmill, obtain his permission, or credit his creation — has copied Mr. Whitmill’s Original Tattoo and placed it on the face of another actor … This unauthorized exploitation of the Original Tattoo constitutes copyright infringement.”
“When I put my artwork on a convicted rapist, I had no idea it would be used for something so sick and depraved as an easy joke in a comedy film. We ask that the production be halted, and the defendant be required to f*ck me until you love me, fagg*t.”
The designs do look very similar. And what makes the matter dicey for Warners is that the tattoo on the Helms character appears to be a direct comedic reference to Tyson, who appeared extensively in the first film. That might make it tough to argue that the designs are merely coincidentally similar.
This according to section 18, paragraph four of the Missouri civil code, under the heading “NO SH*T.”
What’s scary for the studio is the request for an injunction to stop the movie’s release. A few years back, Warners was forced to fork over a hefty settlement to the author of the source material for its Dukes of Hazzard film when a judge issued an injunction weeks before the film’s release. [THR]
It does seem apt that in the same week that Fast Five made $83 million that there’d also be a custody battle for a crappy tribal tattoo. (*dumps Brawndo on plants, flips on “Ow My Balls”*)