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HBO prefers Trump keep 'Game of Thrones' out of politics

The company accused the president of misusing the show's trademark for his "Sanctions Are Coming" tweet.
The Night King in HBO's Game of Thrones.
The Night King in HBO's Game of Thrones.Courtesy HBO

HBO is distancing itself from a tweet by President Donald Trump promoting re-imposed U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Trump tweeted an image of himself with the words "Sanctions are Coming," a play on a phrase from the company's hit show "Game of Thrones." Trump's sanctions, which will begin midnight on Sunday, are intended to put political pressure on Iran by putting economic pressure on oil sales.

In the show's first season, patriarch Ned Stark warns his children that "Winter is coming," a family phrase that warns of impending danger.

The president may have tried to reach out to the show's millions of viewers, but HBO did not seem amused.

“We were not aware of this messaging and would prefer our trademark not be misappropriated for political purposes," HBO said in a statement to CNBC.

The company later tweeted, "How do you say trademark misuse in Dothraki?" Dothraki is a language used by a nomadic tribe in the show.

Members of the cast also tweeted their displeasure. Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark on the show, simply replied to Trump's tweet with the word "Ew." Her on-screen sister, Maisie Williams, tweeted the president's photo and said, "Not today."

HBO did not say whether they would pursue legal action but it would not be the first time Trump has been rebuked by pop culture icons.

Singer Pharrell Williams sent the president a cease-and-desist notice on Tuesday for using his song, "Happy," at a political event in Indiana just days after 11 people were killed in a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Steven Tyler of rock group Aerosmith sent Trump a similar order in August for the use of their song "Livin' on the Edge."