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Marlon Wayans Tweet Is at Center of Lawsuit

Pierre Daniel sues after he was allegedly harassed about his race and compared to a 'Family Guy' character

Marlon Wayans Portrait - P 2013
Marlon Wayans

Just how much legal trouble can one tweet cause? Marlon Wayans is finding out in a new lawsuit brought by an actor who says he was hired for the upcoming film Haunted House 2.

Pierre Daniel filed the lawsuit Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging he was subjected to repeated offensive language about his African-American race and fired upon complaint, and now he's suffering from a loss of work. Besides the employment causes of action, Daniel is raising a tempest of legal claims over something that Wayans posted on Sept. 4, 2013. Here's the tweet in question:

The link is to a side-by-side picture of the plaintiff on the left and the animated character first introduced in Fox's Family Guy:

Daniel, represented by attorneys at Reisner & King, cites the tweet in building a case he's been harassed, discriminated and retaliated against in his employment. But one African-American suing another for discrimination isn't the only thing that's eyebrow-raising here. Here's three more claims made about the tweet above:

  • Misappropriation of name and likeness: The lawsuit alleges that Wayans took Daniel's picture and put it up without consent. But it's the way that Wayans allegedly gained advantage from doing this that is somewhat novel. According to the complaint, "Wayans' insertion of '@ahhmovie 2' is a direct reference to the movie, Haunted House 2, thereby providing evidence that this post was used for promotional purposes. Therefore, Defendants gained a commercial benefit by using Plaintiff's name, likeness, or identity, as they intended to promote/advertise their upcoming movie, The Haunted House 2."
  • Invasion of privacy of false light: This is tantamount to a defamation claim. How is it supported? According to the complaint, "By referencing Plaintiff as Cleveland Brown, the comparison drew inferences of Plaintiff possessing the same traits as Cleveland Brown, including being slow and having physical and emotional problems, thus showing Plaintiff in a false light."
  • Breach of quasi contract: Daniel appears to assert that he posed for the photograph with some expectation that he'd be compensated for his role in the promotion and distribution of the movie. According to the complaint, "As such, an implied-in-law contract (quasi-contract) existed as a result of Defendants' use of Plaintiff's photograph to advertise their upcoming movie, Haunted House 2."

Wayans' camp hasn't yet commented on the lawsuit, which you can read in full below.

Email: Eriq.Gardner@THR.com
Twitter: @eriqgardner