The creators of Sesame Street have launched a lawsuit against an upcoming comedy which portrays puppets in scenes of sex, drugs and violence.
Happytime Murders is set in a world where puppets and humans co-exist.
The plot follows the adventures of a disgraced private investigator – played by Melissa McCarthy – and her puppet partner, in their quest to find out who is gruesomely killing the puppet cast members of a popular children’s TV show from the 80s.
The trailer, which depicts puppets involved in incredibly explicit scenes of violence, drugs and sex, was launched two weeks ago igniting some controversy on the net.
The lawsuit claims that Happytime Murders tarnishes the Sesame Street brand and confounds the audience into thinking the two are the same thing.
Sesame Workshop, the organisation behind the iconic TV show, filed a lawsuit that calls for punitive damages and a jury trial against STX Productions in New York.
The lawsuit reads:
“It is only (the) defendants’ deliberate choice to invoke and commercially misappropriate “Sesame’s” name and goodwill in marketing the movie – and thereby cause consumers to conclude that “Sesame” is somehow associated with the movie – that has infringed on and tarnished the ‘Sesame Street’ mark and goodwill.”
Adding a layer of irony to the whole thing is the fact the upcoming comedy is directed by Brian Henson, son of none other than film legend Jim Henson, aka the man who played a key role in developing the Sesame Street characters in 1969 and who later went on to create the famous The Muppet Show in 1976.
Last Friday, just a day after Sesame Workshop filed its trademark suit, STX Productions responded with a statement from its representative, Fred.
Fred is a puppet.
And a lawyer.
“While we’re disappointed that Sesame Street does not share in the fun, we are confident in our legal position,” Fred said in a statement.
“STX loved the idea of working closely with Brian Henson and the Jim Henson Company to tell the untold story of the active lives of Henson puppets when they’re not performing in front of children.
“Happytime Murders is the happy result of that collaboration and we’re incredibly pleased with the early reaction to the film and how well the trailer has been received by its intended audience.”
The movie is set to be released this September in Australia.