Chuck Norris Looks to Kill Chuck Norris "Facts"
Maybe Chuck Norris can't take a joke after all. The actor is suing publisher Penguin Group Inc. and author Ian Spector over a new book titled "The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 Facts about the World's Greatest Human."
The book hoped to capture some of the viral buzz from a much-imititated website that published ironic platitudes about the actor born as Carlos Ray Norris. Facts like "The leading causes of death in the United States are: 1. Heart Disease 2. Chuck Norris 3. Cancer." The website has been around for more than a year without complaint. Not anymore.
Norris filed a suit late last week in U.S. District Court in Manhattan for the misappropriation and exploitation of his name and likeness without authorization for commercial profit. "Some of the 'facts' in the book are racist, lewd or portray Mr. Norris as engaged in illegal activities," the lawsuit alleges. Norris seeks unspecified monetary damages for trademark infringement, unjust enrichment and privacy rights.
According to the complaint, Norris met Spector, a Westbury, N.Y., resident and an undergraduate at Brown University. The book's preface thanks Norris for "playing along."
UPDATE: Here is a copy of the complaint filed by Norris' lawyer, Anthony Laura at Patton Boggs. Interestingly, included as Exhibit A is Carlos Ray Norris' trademark registration of "Chuck Norris." We wonder whether the fact that "Chuck Norris" isn't his given birth name adds any special wrinkles to this case. It also reminds us of when Rosa Parks sued Outkast after naming a song after her that allegedly violated her publicity and trademark rights and defamed her. The case was eventually settled and legal questions about the trademarking of celebrity names persist.