Judge Throws Out 'Sesame Street' Lawsuit Against 'Ejaculating Puppets' Movie
The tagline for 'The Happytime Murders' doesn't infringe on the 'Sesame Street' trademark, apparently.
Sorry, Sesame Street, it looks like The Happytime Murders trailer is totally chill. On Wednesday, a judge threw out a lawsuit by Sesame Street claiming that the upcoming R-rated puppet movie featuring "ejaculating puppets" infringed on its trademark, the New York Daily News reports.
Last week, Sesame Street sued The Happytime Murders distributor STX Entertainment for using the tagline "No Sesame. All street," in its promotion for the Melissa McCarthy-helmed film, which is basically an explicit Who Framed Roger Rabbit? but with puppets instead of toons. The thing is directed by Brian Henson—director of Muppet Treasure Island and son of the late, great Jim Henson, the guy who created the Muppets and the characters in Sesame Street.
According to Sesame Street, the film's tagline could make people think that the Happytime puppets, which bleed stuffing and gratuitously jizz silly string in the trailer, are somehow related to Big Bird, Grover, and the rest of that wholesome gang.
"Defendants do not own, control or have any right to use the SESAME STREET mark," the lawsuit read. "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."
Sesame's attorney Mary Mulligan even offered up some alternative taglines like "Puppets Get Freaky" and "Naughty Puppets"—but luckily, STX won't have to take her up on those exceedingly rough suggestions. New York City federal judge Vernon Broderick sided with STX and threw out the suit, calling the tagline a "humorous, pithy way" to distinguish itself as separate from Sesame Street, ruling that it does not impede on anyone's trademark, especially since it pretty clearly says, "No Sesame."
STX's lawyer, an actual puppet named Fred who has been giving his expert puppet opinion on the lawsuit since news first broke, released a statement following Broderick's decision. "We fluffing love Sesame Street," Fred said, according to New York Daily News, "and we’re obviously very pleased that the ruling reinforced what STX’s intention was from the very beginning—to honor the heritage of The Jim Henson Company’s previous award-winning creations while drawing a clear distinction between any Muppets or Sesame Street characters and the new world Brian Henson and team created."
The Happytime Murders is set to hit theaters on August 17. Until then, watch the insane red-band trailer above and try to remember that none of the characters have ever lived at 123 Sesame Street or shopped at Hooper's Store.
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