Having a doll with a bobbing head in your own likeness may be all right for Abraham Lincoln, Al Capone, Hilary Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Jesus. But California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is outraged and wants out, distinguished company or not.
Schwarzenegger has sued a family business objecting to its sale of a “bobblehead” doll featuring the former Hollywood action hero’s likeness, his attorney said Monday.
Totting an AK-47 style automatic weapon and a suit, the smiling Schwarzenegger doll is offered for $19.99 from www.bobbleheadelection.com. Bobblehead dolls typically include a spring inside the neck to allow the head to bobble.
“We spoke to them, they said, ’We’re not going to stop’, I said ’Fine, we’re going to sue you,”’ Schwarzenegger’s personal attorney Martin Singer told Reuters. The suit was filed on Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Santa Monica.
“They took my client’s name, they took his likeness and they’re selling it for money. They have no right to do it,” Singer continued. “It’s not political free speech.”
The firm making the Schwarzenegger doll, Bosley Bobbing Head Doll Company of Canton, Ohio, has produced several well-known politicians in its $19.99 political line, including Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Jesus, Lincoln and Capone sell for $14.95.
“We’re going to fight it; we think that we’re right,” said firm co-owner Todd Bosley. “A big legal bill isn’t going to do us any good by any means but, you know, we’re going to do everything we can to continue to sell it and to stay in business.”
He said other politicians have welcomed dolls bearing their likeness. New York Senator Hillary Clinton signed one of her bobbleheads and returned it to the company. Former President Jimmy Carter sent them a signed book, and Former New York Mayor Rudolf Guliani has brought his doll to his speaking engagements, Bosley added.
The firm made less than a million dollars in sales last year from dolls made in China, he said.
Schwarzenegger, a former Mr. Universe and box office superstar, has aggressively sought to stop others to marketing his image. After a similar legal threat in January a Portland, Oregon, brewery stopped selling a beer called “The Governator” featuring a man flexing his muscles beneath a California logo with the words “Pumping Iron Brewing” above.
“He’s always protected his commercial rights; they’re very valuable,” attorney Singer said. “He gets offered up to $20 million for commercial exploitation uses.”