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Tintin and other celebrity lawsuits

November 23, 2010

sika tintinCongo-born Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo has made it his life’s goal to make Belgium face up to its abuse against the Congolese people during the colonialization of Congo hundred years ago.  Yesterday he sued Belgium’s national heroes Tintin and his creator Herge because of the racist portrayal of Congolese people in the album Tintin in the Congo.

Is it absurd to sue because of an eighty-year-old comic book that was penned down back when white people were morons? Sure. Is suing one of the best-known fictional characters in the world a great way to make your cause known to the world? Oh, yes.

This one is actually the sanest lawsuit yet when it comes to the courtroom fight between ordinary people and celebrities. And there are loads. Here are my two favorites:

Remember when a man from Fort Worth sued the representatives of Elvis Presley’s estate for lying about Elvis being dead? The man’s case; he claimed to have had frequent phone conversation with Elvis for many years after his “alleged” death.

He didn’t win.

Or when actor Ron Livingston sued Wikipedia because the encyclopedia site stated he was gay. When the pursuit of finding the anonymous “fact” contributor was unsuccessful he still pushed forward with the lawsuit, citing “John Doe” as the defendant.

The winner? Ron Livingston. He got what he wanted. He is not gay anymore. On Wikipedia.

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