HBO to Trump: Stop Using 'Game of Thrones' Trademark for Politics
“We were not aware of this messaging and would prefer our trademark not be misappropriated for political purposes," said HBO in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter of Trump's Twitter post.
President Trump invoked Game of Thrones on Twitter Friday morning when delivering a warning to Iran about reimposing all U.S. sanctions that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal.
"Sanctions are Coming, November 5," boomed a meme posted by Trump to his 55 million-plus followers. Borrowing the famous phrase from the HBO fantasy saga that "Winter is coming," the image included Trump's likeness and resembled the title font of Thrones.
“We were not aware of this messaging and would prefer our trademark not be misappropriated for political purposes," said HBO in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
The network later tweeted to its official account, referencing the series' fictional language: "How do you say trademark misuse in Dothraki?"
On Friday, the Trump administration announced that the sanctions on Iran's energy, shipbuilding, shipping and banking sectors would go into effect on Monday. The rollback comes after Trump ended U.S. participation in the nuclear deal and further unravels a signature foreign policy achievement of his predecessor, former President Barack Obama.
Trump hasn't previously expressed interest in Thrones, but Obama was such a vocal fan that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss lifted their veil of secrecy and sent the then-president screeners for season six in 2016.
Trump is also not the first politician to borrow Thrones for political use. Marco Rubio used the drama's title font when announcing his bid for the White House in 2015.
"Winter is coming" is a reference to the final battle for the fate of Westeros, the backdrop of the HBO drama, that will take place between the living and the dead. The seventh and final season of the epic saga based on George R. R. Martin's novel series and starring Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke arrives in 2019.
Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark on the series, was quick to tweet a reply to Trump on Friday. "Not today," she wrote. Her on-screen sister, co-star Sophie Turner, replied with a simple, "Ew." Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin also replied to the president's tweet with a "#Vote."