It didn’t take too long for the folks at Sesame Street to take action against The Happytime Murders, it just isn’t for the reason you might think. The folks at Sesame Workshop take their role in pop culture and education seriously and don’t seem to take kindly to a movie featuring a puppets ejaculating and others getting brutally murdered. But that isn’t exactly why they have filed a lawsuit against STX productions over The Happytime Murders.
“Sesame seeks to enjoin Defendants’ deliberate effort to appropriate its SESAME STREET mark, and its trusted brand and goodwill, to promote their R-rated movie, The Happytime Murders, by way of a violent and sexually-explicit trailer. SESAME STREET is a registered trademark of Sesame, an organization with a long and storied history of ‘helping kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder,’” the suit, filed against STX Productions, reads. “Defendants’ widely-distributed marketing campaign features a just-released trailer with explicit, profane, drug-using, misogynistic, violent, copulating, and even ejaculating puppets, along with the tagline ‘NO SESAME. ALL STREET.’ Defendants do not own, control or have any right to use the SESAME STREET mark. Instead, they are distributing a trailer that deliberately confuses consumers into mistakenly believing that Sesame is associated with, has allowed, or has even endorsed or produced the movie and tarnishes Sesame’s brand.”
The Wrap adds that Happytime and STX have used “a parade of social media posts, emails and public comments” to promote their film and it “has confused and appalled viewers because of what they believe to be a serious breach of trust by Sesame.” They add that the trailer and film have “diluted and defiled Sesame’s beloved Sesame Street children’s television show and Sesame Street mark by associating their trailer with Sesame Street.”
STX Films talked with The Wrap and noted that they are “confident in our legal position” and had the support of The Jim Henson Company with the help of director Brian Henson. Sesame Workshop also responded to The Wrap, making it clear that it was the marketing the film that caused trouble saying they “take no issue with the creative freedom of the filmmakers and their right to make and promote this movie, rather this is about how our name is being misused to market a film with which we have no association”:
We were surprised and disappointed that Sesame Street, a show dedicated to educating young children, is being exploited to market this R-rated film,” the statement reads. “We immediately contacted the film’s distributor, STX Films, and requested that they remove our name from the film’s marketing. They declined to do so…We regret that our fans and families have been confused by STX’s marketing campaign.
The one thing that is certain here, most of these puppets are being forced into some serious adult situations when they’re not entertaining children. Very strange times in Jim Henson World.
(Via The Wrap)