Sesame Street sues Melissa McCarthy over her R-rated puppet movie 'The Happytime Murders'
The makers of 'Sesame Street' fear that 'The Happytime Murders' will give their puppets a bad name and demanded that the promoters change their marketing strategy
'Sesame Street’ hasn’t become the longest-running children’s show beloved by both adults and children alike by accident. Its squeaky-clean image and attempts at bridging many cultural and educational gaps with the use of games and fun projects has become a matter of pride and identity for even PBS, the network it runs on.
In fact, the very idea of puppets has become synonymous with ‘Sesame Street,’ with characters such as Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, Oscar the Grouch and Grover becoming household names. So, when the makers of ‘Sesame Street’ saw the recently dropped trailed for an upcoming R-rated movie about puppet murders that features comedy queen Melissa McCarthy, they decided to take action against it.
Melissa’s upcoming film titled ‘The Happytime Murders’ is reportedly about a human detective (played by Melissa) and a puppet partner duo who have teamed up to investigate gruesome puppet murders. The trailer for the same features "explicit, profane, drug-using, misogynistic, violent, copulating and even ejaculating puppets."
This, along with the tagline "NO SESAME. ALL STREET,” will harm the ‘Sesame Street’ brand, claims the makers of the beloved children’s program. Melissa’s movie, set for release on August 17, is abusing the famed puppets' sterling reputation to advertise the R-rated film, they claim in a lawsuit against the movie’s promoter.
The team is suing the promoter of ‘The HappyTime Murders’ in a federal court in Manhattan for unspecified damages and are demanding that they change the marketing strategy for the film. They have demanded that STX Productions LLC – the promoters – not use any of Sesame's trademarks and intellectual property, including the phrase, "NO SESAME. ALL STREET," while marketing the film.
They have claimed that the current marketing strategy is confusing viewers into thinking Sesame was involved with or endorsed "this subversion of its own programming — thereby irreparably harming Sesame and its goodwill and brand."
Meanwhile, STX, in a statement issued in the name of Fred, Esq, a lawyer puppet, said it was looking forward to introducing its "adorably unapologetic characters" to adult moviegoers this summer. The statement read, "While we're disappointed that Sesame Street does not share in the fun, we are confident in our legal position."
It has also stated, "We're incredibly pleased with the early reaction to the film and how well the trailer has been received by its intended audience.” However, the Twitter reactions do not seem to coincide with this statement.
Along with STX, the film is also produced by Henson Alternative, On The Day Productions, and individual producers including Brian Henson, Lisa Henson, Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone.