A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has approved Activision Blizzard’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought against it by former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega in July.
The lawsuit claimed that Noriega’s image was exploited and his reputation was damaged by being included as a minor character in Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
“Noriega fails to provide any evidence of harm to his reputation,” the judge wrote in dismissing the case, in part. “Indeed, given the worldwide reporting of his actions in the 1980s and early 1990s, it is hard to imagine that any such evidence exists.” The judge also ruled that due to his limited role in the game’s narrative, and his absence from promotion material, Activision’s use of Noriega was protected by the First Amendment right to free speech.
“This ruling is an important victory and we thank the court for protecting free speech,” said former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose lawfirm represented Activision in the case. “This was an absurd lawsuit from the very beginning and we’re gratified that in the end, a notorious criminal didn’t win. This is not just a win for the makers of Call of Duty, but is a victory for works of art across the entertainment and publishing industries throughout the world.”