9:08am PT by Eriq Gardner
Fox News Anchor Harris Faulkner Settles Lawsuit Over Hasbro's Toy Hamster
Fox News' Harris Faulkner and Hasbro have come to a settlement to resolve the television personality's claims of having her likeness violated through the sale of a plastic toy hamster named "Harris Faulkner."
The anchor of Fox Report Weekend filed her lawsuit in New Jersey federal court with a $5 million demand over a toy included as part of Hasbro's "Littlest Pet Shop" product line. In her September 2015 complaint, she asserted the toy, with large cartoonish eyes and a butterfly resting on its head, had "caused substantial commercial and emotional damage" to her and falsely implied her "association with, approval, and endorsement of Hasbro and/or the Harris Faulkner Hamster Doll."
In response, Hasbro argued Harris Faulkner looked nothing like "Harris Faulkner" and that "name-sameness" wasn't enough to state a valid right of publicity claim.
U.S. District Judge Katharine Hayden rejected a motion to dismiss in July, writing, "In the specialized context of Hasbro’s successful toy line 'world,' in which the hamster is admittedly 'a character' designed to be played with, Faulkner’s allegation that this doll bears her unusual celebrity name sufficiently pleads a violation of the right of publicity."
The judge set up future fact-finding about children's opinions about the toy hamster and whether there was real confusion in the marketplace, but that won't happen due to the settlement.
No terms have been released by the parties, but in a joint statement, they say, "The ‘Harris Faulkner’ toy is no longer manufactured or sold by Hasbro. However, since there still may be ‘Harris Faulkner’ toys or packaging with the ‘Harris Faulkner’ name in the stream of commerce, Ms. Faulkner reiterates that she has not endorsed or approved this product."