(Reuters) - An anchor for Fox News Channel has sued Hasbro Inc for more than $5 million over the company’s sale of a plastic toy hamster that shares her name, and which she says resembles her.
In a complaint filed on Monday, Harris Faulkner, who joined Fox News in 2005, called it “demeaning and insulting” for Hasbro to portray her as a rodent with its Harris Faulkner hamster, and said the toy damages her credibility as a journalist.
Faulkner also said the hamster bears a “physical resemblance” to her through its complexion, eye shape and eye makeup design, and poses a choking hazard to small children.
“Harris Faulkner, the uniquely named, acclaimed veteran journalist and author, has worked for decades to establish and maintain her personal brand and laudable professional
reputation,” only to suffer “substantial commercial and emotional damages” from Hasbro’s conduct, the complaint said.
Faulkner said she told Hasbro in January it had no permission to use her name or likeness, but that it was still using her name in July to sell its popular “Littlest Pet Shop” toy line, which includes the hamsters. She also said the hamsters are still sold at Amazon.com and elsewhere online.
Hasbro spokeswoman Julie Duffy on Wednesday said the Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based company normally does not discuss litigation.
She objected to the choking hazard claim, saying that all Littlest Pet Shop toys “meet and exceed all safety standards.”
The lawsuit filed in Newark, New Jersey federal court seeks damages for violating Faulkner’s publicity and endorsement rights, and to recoup profits from toy hamster sales.
Paul Halasz, a lawyer for Faulkner, was not immediately available for comment.
Faulkner co-hosts the daytime show “Outnumbered” and anchors “Fox Report Weekend” on Sunday evenings. Fox News is a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.
The case is Faulkner v Hasbro Inc, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, No. 15-06518.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Andrew Hay